Freeway accidents can actually become more dangerous after the accident occurs. It is important to keep these tips in mind should you ever have an issue on the highway.
What to do:
- Pull off on the right shoulder of the road. If possible to drive a little further, drive to the closest exit ramp. Should you be part of the accident, do not assume someone not going to the shoulder immediately means they are fleeing the scene. They may know a safer shoulder to assess damage.
- If an accident happens at a faster speed, slow down, and signal that you are pulling off the road.
- Exit from the passenger’s side or non-traffic side of the vehicle, if possible. Accidents are distracting on the side of the road, and exiting on the side of traffic can be potentially dangerous.
- If the accident occurs at night, use motorist flares around your vehicle so that you remain visible to traffic. An alternative is to keep interior lights on until police arrive to keep your vehicle visible to traffic.
- Wait for law enforcement officers to arrive on the scene. You may have a preliminary assessment in mind as to what happened, but police will give you a written report after speaking to all parties involved.
- Call 911 immediately if there are any serious injuries or if anyone is immobile.
- Call your insurance company as soon as you can to report the accident. Take notes on the scene and use the police report to help with recall of details.
What not to do:
- After the police assess the accident and you are free to continue driving, do not merge from the side of the road without a signal. Cars will be going way faster than you are used to when merging, and a signal is crucial to alert drivers you are moving. Make sure there is much more space than you’d usually need before merging into the flow of traffic.
- Do not try to flag down other cars for help from the side of the road.
- Do not get confrontational with the other driver(s), no matter how frustrated you are by the situation. Take a few minutes before you get out of your car to take a deep breath, call the authorities, and rationally assess the situation.
- Do not abandon the scene. Even if you think the situation is minor, you must wait until police arrive at the accident. If there are serious injuries, call 911 and do what you can to not move the injured person, as you can exacerbate their condition.
- Do not post on social media. If you discover you need a lawyer, you do not want angry or biased material out there that can be used against you in court.
In general, keep a cool head and acknowledge that the highway has the potential to create another accident after the one you have just experienced. It is one of the most dangerous places to be stopped on the side of the road because of the speed of other cars. Take extra caution when dealing with an accident on the freeway. As always, should you need a lawyer, please reach out to our offices for assistance.