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Preparation Is Key For Experienced And New Drivers

The freedom and independence that comes with a driver’s license is the tell-tale sign of growing-up.  However, a driver’s license comes with responsibility and risk that you may not be fully prepared for.  One of the dangers is an auto collision. In fact, rates of automobile accidents are growing each year in the U.S., despite the fact safety features on cars have vastly improved over the years.   To keep your family safe, it is recommended you prepare for the inevitability of a collision by following these tips.

Keep Important Paperwork In Your Car

Important Documents to keep in your car

Before you drive away from your home, it is important you keep pertinent paperwork in your car.  There are three things you must keep in your vehicle at all times, with some other recommended items. Whether you are in an accident or need to show proof of ownership, these documents are essential and often need to be found quickly. 

First, vehicle registration should always be in your car.  This document shows that you can legally drive your vehicle and that you, or a family member, own it.  A vehicle that is not registered should not be driven. 

Second, you should have proof of insurance.  This document is mailed to you when you purchase insurance or may have been provided by your insurance agency through email.  It is illegal to drive without car insurance in California. 

Third, you need to have your driver’s license.  It is not recommended you keep your license in your car, as you may need it as a photo ID.  However, you must have your driver’s license on you to drive your car. 

Important Documents

Finally, some recommended items could be a disposable camera, writing notepad, and a pen or pencil is a great idea. In the case of an accident and a phone, a camera, a tablet, and a pencil will allow you to take the notes needed to keep you protected.  Also, if you have any roadside assistance, keep a copy of your policy in your car. This may be a car warranty, insurance, or even a private roadside assistance policy. 

What To Do If You Are In A Collision

Due to the high number of automobile accidents annually, there is a good chanced you will one day find yourself involved in a collision. Accidents can be scary. But, following these guidelines will make the process less overwhelming. Here are some simple steps you can follow if you are in an accident.

Car Accident - Collision

  1. Assess the situation:  Determine if you are OK and if other passengers are OK.  If people are hurt or there is doubt, immediately call 911. 
  2. Get to A Safe Place:  If your car is drivable, carefully pull off to the side of the road.  Leaving your damaged car in the middle of the roadway may be more dangerous to you and other drivers – and may make you vulnerable to being hit and hurt.  If your car works, move it to the side of the road. If it is nighttime, it is recommended you pull over to the nearest off-ramp or well-lit area. 
  3. Exchange Information: If you are in a collision, it is important you exchange information with the person you were in an accident with.  Exchange basic information such as name: best contact method – such as phone number and email, address, and insurance documentation.  It is recommended you take a picture of the driver’s license and insurance documentation to avoid any sort of miscommunication and poorly transcripted notes. 
  4. Gather Information:  Get your camera (or smartphone) and start to record details of the accident. There is a lot of information to obtain, so downloading an app, such as the one provided by Zeigler Insurance for free, can help you gather all of the information you need in an organized way.
    • Take pictures of your car
    • Take photos of the other car
    • Record, in written notes or with audio notes, the time and location of the accident and highlight any sort of context clues, such as weather, signage, sunlight, speed, and cross-streets. 
    • Talk to any witnesses available. If there are any witnesses, get their information.  Often, insurance agencies will need witness testimony to process claims. 
  5. Call Police:  You do not need to call the police with every accident incident.  If you are having problems or difficulty with the other driver, reach out to PD. However, most smaller accidents do not require police intervention. 
  6. Contact Your Insurance Professional: Finally, it is time to reach out to your insurance professional.  Your insurance professional will be able to help you process a claim if filing one is necessary. They will also answer any questions you might have regarding your accident.  

Become A Safe Driver to Avoid A Collision

Although car collisions may seem inevitable, reviewing car collision statistics can help prevent accidents.  Fatal car accidents happen when drivers drink, drive distracted, speed, and break major roadway laws. Car accidents are preventable when drivers pay due diligence behind the wheel.  Most teen crashes can be prevented with plenty of quality parent supervised driving practice. This helps teens gain valuable driving experience and critical driving skills.  

Parents can help teens become safer drivers by managing risks and by setting and enforcing rules.  Rules should include

  • Using Apps that monitor driving and phone use
  • Limiting nighttime driving
  • Limiting peer passengers until the first full year of driving is complete
  • Communicating regularly and consistently about wearing a seat belt, using cell phones, and driving while impaired

Finally, parents can sign their children up for Start Smart, which is a free, 2-hour long driving class provided by the CHP. The class is designed for new drivers and helped teenagers become more aware of the responsibilities that accompany the privilege of being a licensed driver. Topics CHP in Start Smart covers includes collision avoidance techniques, excessive speed, DUI and distracted driving, the importance of wearing a seatbelt and what to do in the case of a collision. 

Get Expert Advice from Zeigler Insurance 

Zeigler Insurance Team Picture

The amount of information available regarding safe driving, insurance, and protecting our loved ones is overwhelming.  To ensure you are providing your family with the best information, working with a local insurance professional cannot be overlooked, or underrated. 

Zeigler Insurance provides the highest quality products the insurance industry has to offer.  Everyone on the Zeigler Team is fully licensed and with a cumulative 35 years of experience. You can trust you are getting the information, experience, and protection you need for your family. Outside of exceptional insurance products, Zeigler Insurance has a focus on creating excellent customer experiences.  Zeigler Insurance is dedicated to making sure their customers’ assets and lifestyles are protected properly. Contact Zeigler Insurance today to complete your free annual insurance review to ensure your assets are properly protected.

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