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Five important pieces of information to gather after an accident

One minute you are driving to work and the next minute, you are sitting dazed behind your steering wheel, wondering how your front end wound up looking like a crumpled ball of paper. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sending or reading a text while driving keeps your eyes off the road for five seconds. If you are driving 55 mph, you have driven the length of a football in those five seconds. A lot can happen in those five, distracted seconds.

Or perhaps you never use your phone while driving, but the driver next to you does. Even if every driver put down his or her phone, weather conditions, fatigue, inexperience and other distractions still lead to vehicle accidents.

Avoiding distractions can certainly improve your safety on the road, but you should be prepared in case another driver’s negligence causes an accident to occur. Here are five pieces of information you should gather after you are involved in an auto accident.

Insurance and driver’s license information from the other driver

Almost everyone knows you should exchange insurance information with the other driver after an accident. You may also request his or her driver’s license information, so you can take note of the state the other driver lives in. A driver’s license number may also prove useful for your insurance company.

Details about the other vehicle

You will want to make a note about the make, model and license number of the other vehicle. Again, the license plate will show if the driver is out-of-state. You will also want to pay attention if the other driver had a car full of passengers, or if there were any other concerns that may have distracted the driver.

Documentation of the damage and scene

If you are physically able, take pictures of the damage to your car, the other car and the accident scene. You will want to include images of skid marks or posted speed limit signs. If you have visible injuries, you will want to photograph your injuries as soon as possible.

Accounts from any witnesses

Get contact information from anyone else that witnessed the accident happening. A third party may have noticed something you could not see from your perspective. This could be crucial for determining fault in the accident.

Your account of the accident

No one expects you to write out an account of the accident while you are sitting in your ruined vehicle. However, as soon as you can afterward, sit down and write your account of the events. You may forget important details later, so writing it down will ensure you have an accurate description of everything that occurred.

After an accident occurs, the first thing you should do is make sure you are not injured. Even if you do not feel hurt, it may be a good idea to get checked out by a doctor.

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