A car accident can happen to almost anyone, at any time. This is something that you never really expect, so knowing what to do if it does occur can be the key to handling the problem properly. Obviously, an accident can leave a person feeling a bit scattered and stressed. Sometimes how you drive can be an important factor in an accident. Therefore, knowing how speed can affect a crash is important. A head-on collision can be the most dangerous type of accident, so understanding how to react to this problem is also very important, just like handling the scene of an accident (no matter what type there are certain things to keep in mind).
How Speed Affects A Crash:
The statistics regarding the speed at which a vehicle is traveling and how this affects a crash are very clear. For starters, going faster than what is appropriate for the conditions and the crash results in around 14 percent of all collisions that result in an injury. It is obvious that if you crash at a higher speed, there will be more force that comes to bear and this leads to a greater impact and a higher potential for injuries. To illustrate this, consider walking into a tree or a pole…then run into that tree or pole and take note of the greater force of impact.
Speed does not necessarily mean ‘speeding.’ In poor weather conditions, going under the posted speed limit might still be too fast for conditions. Higher speeds also mean drivers have less time to react to changing conditions around themselves. It also means that it will take longer for a car to stop. If the vehicle needs to swerve, or take evasive measures, it will be more difficult to control.
What to Do In Head-On Collisions:
Happily, head-on collisions are fairly rare events. Having said that, you need to be ready at all times.. If you are able to see this event developing, you want to slow down as much as possible ahead of time, without losing control of your vehicle. The idea behind this is to reduce the forces at work as much as possible (see above about why speed is important). This also gives the other driver as much of a chance as possible to recover and move out of your lane. Rather than hitting the other vehicle head-on, it would be better to go off the road, to the right (certainly not to left, with the potential of other on-coming traffic).
Handling the Scene of the Accident:
The first thing to do at the scene of an accident is to move to a safe area. This is, of course, as long as you are not seriously hurt. If you cannot move your vehicle out of further harm’s way, then at least turn on hazard lights to warn other drivers. Stop the car, turn off the engine, shift into park, take a moment to catch your breath, and then (when it is safe) exit the vehicle.
Once you have exited the vehicle, survey the scene. Check on other drivers and passengers to see if they are OK or hurt. Call 911 if anyone is injured, even if those injuries seem to be fairly minor like dizziness. Then, call the police to the scene. Even in minor accidents, this can help to make dealing with future insurance claims much easier. You want to cooperate fully with the police when they arrive, but also avoid admitting fault, especially here at the scene.
Written by Karla Mailoh.