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October 23, 2014

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Public Safety:

Seven actions to take if you’re in a traffic accident

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Steve Marcus

An Ewing Bros. tow operator loads a car onto a tow truck after an accident at Boulder Highway and Tropicana Avenue on Tuesday, May 17, 2011.

Most people have been in a car accident in some form. From Jan. 1 through Dec. 4, 2012, there were 22,060 traffic accidents — about 65 per day — reported in the jurisdiction patrolled by Metro Police.

Despite the high number of accidents, police and insurance providers continue to see errors in how people act in the aftermath of being involved in a wreck.

Here are seven tips to remember if you’re involved in a traffic accident, provided by Officer Marcus Martin, a Metro spokesman, and Bill Rohac, owner of Nevada Life Services, an independent insurance agency:

    • Remain on scene

      This may seem like an obvious tip, but police and insurance providers stress this point. If you leave the scene of an accident, charges could be brought against you.

    • Don’t panic

      Police and auto insurance experts say it’s important to try to remain calm so any damage or injuries can be properly evaluated and conveyed to emergency personnel. Take a moment to collect yourself and make sure you’re not stepping into further harm when you exit your vehicle.

    • Assess injuries

      When you have collected yourself, make sure you understand if you have been hurt and what injuries you may have suffered. If possible, check to see if anyone else has been hurt and how severely those people may be injured.

    • Prevent further accidents

      Once you’ve established what injuries you or anyone else involved might have, check to see if any vehicles or debris are in the road. If possible, move anything that could potentially cause another accident.

    • 911

      Making an emergency call is not always necessary. Many insurance providers would encourage calling police if the collision happened in a public roadway. If you are not sure if the damage is significant enough to call for help, call just in case. For more minor accidents, you may have to go into the police station to file a report.

    • Exchange information

      Once you’ve properly assessed any injuries that may have been suffered, and you’ve alerted the necessary authorities, make sure to get the information of the other drivers involved. Copying the insurance information of the other driver is important, but to protect yourself against a policy that may be expired, be sure to copy down the person’s license plate and driver’s license numbers.

    • Document the damage

      Take pictures of the damage with your phone, or keep a disposable camera in your glove box for such an emergency. Pictures of the damage can help make your case when filing an insurance claim.

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