“I’m okay, but …” is one of the most heart-stopping phone calls to receive. But, when it comes to car accidents, few are so lucky as to be able to make that call. At We Fix It, we are here for your preventative maintenance, auto repairs, and all manner of other vehicle needs. However, we also take driving seriously and care deeply about the safety of you and your family. That’s why we want to offer you these essential safety tips that could potentially save your life in the event of an accident.
Car crash survival tips everyone should know
- Make sure you are using your seat belt and using it properly. Your safety belt should have little to no slack. Furthermore, it should always lay across your body against your sternum and shoulder and fit snugly against your hip bones. These large hard bone markers will help prevent movement and damage to your organs.
- Clear your car of clutter, especially in the front seat. Any loose object has the potential to become a dangerous projectile during an accident. The force created from an accident can cause items such as backpacks, computers, and groceries to fly in excess of 50 mph. These speeds are more than enough to be fatal. Store any extra items in the trunk and/or secure them down. As silly as it sounds, buckling in your backpack may just save your life!
- Understand how airbags work. Much like keeping your car free of loose objects, you want to keep airbag pathways unobstructed. Keep both hands on the wheel to avoid broken bones. Also, be sure you are sitting up straight instead of leaning to the side or against the dashboard.
- When an accident does occur, do your best to reduce your speed and control your vehicle. Whenever possible, try to steer past immovable objects and avoid side impacts. Getting hit in the front or rear of your vehicle increases your likelihood of survival. However, try not to overcorrect because you want to avoid a head-on collision. It is always better to have a glancing hit than to collide with something head-on.
- After a car crash, you need to assess the situation. Are you safe? Does your car need to be moved to avoid a second crash? Are you or any of your passengers injured? If so, can you tell if anything is broken?
- Once you have an understanding of what’s going on, you have two simultaneous decisions to make. First, when to call 9-1-1 and second, when to exit your vehicle. If your car is on fire, leaking fuel, or near a downed electric post, get out of your car immediately if you can. If you are not in immediate danger from oncoming traffic or hazard, it is always best to remain in your vehicle until help arrives. This will help ensure that any medical precautions can be taken. Furthermore, unless strictly necessary, it is better not to remove any passengers in case of spinal injuries. Then, as soon as you are able, call 9-1-1. Give them your location, any information you can about injuries, how many people are in the car, and a brief description of the accident.
- If the accident is not severe and you have a first aid kit, you may attend to minor injuries. Otherwise, wait for medical professionals.
- If you crash and end up in the water, get out through a window as fast as possible. Undo your seat belt and help passengers with theirs. Then, roll down all the windows and get out. Do not, under any circumstance, wait for the car to fill completely before trying to get out. This idea came from someone saying it would equalize pressure and be easier. That is false. Also, do not try opening doors to swim out as this will cause your vehicle to sink faster.
Safety and survival tools for your vehicle
Nowadays, there are a plethora of safety tools available that all motorists should have. These include:
- Seatbelt cutter
- Glass breaker
- Fire extinguisher
- First aid kit
- Bug Out Bag (if you live in areas with extreme climates)
Each of these tools will assist you with the most common obstacles in a crash, whether that’s a jammed safety belt or breaking a window. Many companies now make a multi-tool that will fit on your key chain so you can take it anywhere. This is particularly useful if you use some type of ride share and you’re not always in the same vehicle.
Remember, even though it is extremely challenging, the best thing you can do after a car crash is to remain calm. You will make better decisions, communicate more effectively with emergency responders, and be better able to execute any steps you need to take.
In addition to the above car crash survival tips, be sure to schedule an appointment with We Fix It to verify that your vehicle is up-to-date with the latest safety features. You’ll also want to make sure that your car is operating at peak performance with regular maintenance.
Be safe out there and always use best driving practices!