How To Survive A Car Crash
Driving is a common activity that many people do every day. However, it can also be one of the most dangerous things you do. Think about it; there is minimal training to learn how to drive and there are a wide range of distractions. With these two elements combined, it is no surprise that many people are injured and killed in car crashes every year.
Learn the Right Way
When you are trying to avoid any type of accident, the best approach is a preemptive approach. While you cannot control other people on the road, you can certainly control yourself. Start by getting the right training and skill set to properly and safely operate a vehicle. Driving is something that must be learned and practiced. Your first line of defense against a car crash is to have your own well-developed set of driving skills and experience.
Utilize Safety Features
Along with knowing how to properly operate a vehicle, it is also important that you take full advantage of the safety features available in your vehicle. Every vehicle is equipped with a seatbelt. Because accidents cannot always be avoided, whether because of road conditions or another driver, it is important that you take every step you can to keep yourself safe. Your seatbelt and the other safety features in your vehicle act as backup, should you actually get in an accident. According to the NHTSA, half of all automobile accident deaths could be prevented by proper seatbelt usage. To help people know how to properly use seatbelts, the NHTSA advises:
- A shoulder harness be worn across the shoulder and chest with minimal, if any slack. The shoulder harness should not be worn under the arm or behind the back. Wearing the harness the wrong way could cause serious internal injuries in a crash.
- The lap belt should be adjusted so that it is snug and lies low across your hips after fastening.
- The driver/passenger should be seated upright with your back against the seat and feet on the floor. Improper seating positions can result in reduced effectiveness of seatbelts.
In addition to seatbelts, vehicles are also equipped with other safety features, like airbags. While an airbag can save your life, it can also injure you. Airbags have been known to burn skin and even break bones. Because they can cause harm, it is important to know where the airbags are inside your car and avoid placing obstacles between them and your body.
Know When to Leave the Vehicle
After a crash, the danger is not over. It is important that you know when you can safely exit your vehicle. Once your vehicle has stopped moving, start by assessing the situation. If you and your passenger(s) are uninjured, check to see if you are in a safe position to leave your car (i.e. busy street). If it is safe to leave your car, do so and move to a safe distance away. Then, you should call for help.
Article courtesy of Fremont College Paralegal Program.