Accidents happen every day. Statistic Brain reports that 5,400,000 non-fatal car crashes take place every year, or almost 15,000 every day. Every driver needs to know what to do after a car accident, and every car should have a checklist to ensure no steps are missed following a crash. In addition, there are items every vehicle should have at all times. Following at the Top 10 Items to
Keep In Your Car In Case of a Wreck.
- Many drivers fail to purchase an auto escape tool, yet this device is necessary when one is submerged in water. One portion of the tool cuts through a seat belt when an individual is trapped, and the other works to break out car windows under water. Choose one that can be attached to a keychain or clipped to a visor, or purchase one that is fluorescent and can easily be seen in the dark.
- Every vehicle needs a first aid kit, as it will come in handy even when one has not been injured in an accident. At a bare minimum, the kit needs to contain bandages, tweezers, scissors, latex gloves, antiseptic, ointment and cleanser packets or wipes, instant cold packs, and gauze. It is always helpful to have one in the front seat and a second in the back so one is always within reach. One can purchase a ready-made first aid kit or assemble one on their own. Either way, this item needs to be available at all times.
- Road flares alert others to a disabled car, whether the car is inoperable due to an accident or a mechanical breakdown. Warning triangles may also be used for this purpose, yet they need to be reflective to ensure others can see them at night or in unfavorable weather conditions. Thanks to advances in technology, one no longer needs to worry about flaming flares, as they are being replaced by LED versions.
- A fully charged cell phone helps when one is in an auto accident. In addition to being helpful for contacting the appropriate authorities, the phone may be used to record details about the accident, such as any contributing factors or skid marks. Use the phone to capture information about the other parties involved in the accident or to record the contact information of any witnesses to the crash. To ensure the phone is always charged and ready for use, plug the cell phone into a car charger when entering the car. What many fail to realize is any cell phone works for this purpose. One can take an old cell phone they no longer use and throw it in the glove box. By law, cellular carriers must connect any 911 call from any cellular device.
- Always carry a flashlight in a vehicle. The flashlight may be used when changing a flat tire following an accident, looking for other drivers following a crash if they are not easily visible, or providing light when exchanging information with other drivers. Some opt for a wind-up flashlight to ensure it never goes dead, while others prefer something like a Maglite, as it can be used for self-defense purposes also. This is a matter of personal preference, yet every vehicle should have a flashlight.
- Blankets may be used for a variety of purposes. Following a car accident, the blanket may be used to cover someone who has gone into shock or to keep individuals warm in cold weather until help arrives. Of course, the blanket also comes in handy for an impromptu picnic or when attending a sporting event and the temperatures drop unexpectedly.
- Carry a fire extinguisher in every car to put out fires that may occur following a car accident. Fuel can easily ignite after a crash and the fire extinguisher helps to keep the flames from spreading when this takes place.
- A whistle should be kept in the glove compartment of every car. In the event the car goes off the road, the whistle may be used to alert emergency personnel to a person’s location.
- A multi-tool kit is a handy device following an accident. It may be used for a wide range of purposes, such as cutting someone’s clothes off to better determine the extent of their auto accident injuries or to slice through a seat belt. Many come with wire cutters and files, and some include a bottle or can opener. Look for one that can be carried on a key ring or lanyard for easy access.
- Contact information should be kept in every vehicle, wallet, and cell phone. In the event a person is unable to provide his or her name, medical information, or other details, emergency personnel will know who to contact for this information. When putting this information into a cell phone, either include In Case of Emergency or ICOE in the contact name.
Additional items a driver may wish to carry in their car include food, water, an extra change of clothes, and jumper cables. Paper maps are a good thing to have at any time, and the same is true of extra cash. An ice scraper comes in handy in inclement weather, and carpet scraps allow one to gain traction in snow or ice. Of course, one should always have a spare tire and the tools needed to change a tire, along with a portable air compressor to pump up a flat. These are just a few of the many items one may wish to keep in their car at all times.
Anyone who has been injured in a car crash should speak to a car accident lawyer. Although one may find he or she does not need assistance in resolving the case, legal guidance is never a bad thing. Speak to an attorney today to learn if you have a case and what steps you need to take. With the prevalence of auto accidents, you cannot be too careful or have too much advice.
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Harvey B. Morris is a lifelong Alabamian who has been practicing law in Huntsville since getting his law degree and passing the state bar in 1966.