Why Calling 911 Should Be Your First Step After a Car Accident


If you get in a car accident, then it can be disorienting. Maybe jostling or injury took place. The speed with which it happens is such that you might feel happy and carefree, and then in an instant, there is a significant change to your day or life.

After the collision, you’ll want to get yourself and any passengers to safety if you are still in traffic. After that, though, you should call 911. 

Here are a few of the reasons why you should never neglect this crucial process part. 

You Might Be Hurt and Not Realize It

If you call 911 after a car accident, you’re doing the safest thing. You, a passenger, or the other vehicle’s driver, if there is one, might be seriously hurt. One of you might have sustained:

  • Whiplash 
  • A concussion
  • A broken bone
  • A laceration
  • Internal injuries 

Some of those you can identify easily, but others are more challenging if you don’t have any medical training. For instance, you sometimes can’t detect an internal injury right away.

On top of that, your adrenaline is pumping, so you might not register the pain yet. Calling 911 means an ambulance should come, along with the police, a fire truck, or other medical personnel. 

The Other Driver Might Try to Run

Hit-and-run accidents happen all the time. It’s a foolish thing to do, but sometimes, in the moment’s heat, the other driver might not be thinking clearly. They may also run because:

  • They don’t have insurance
  • It’s a stolen car
  • They are driving with a suspended license
  • They’ve been drinking or using illegal drugs

You shouldn’t deal with a driver who hits your car and then takes off. This individual is reckless, and you can’t very well go chasing after them.

Calling 911 lets the authorities, including the police, know where and when a crash takes place. The sooner they can have someone there, the sooner you can sort out what happened. If the other driver fled the scene, calling the authorities ensures that they won’t get far.

There Might Be Property Damage

By calling 911, you’re taking responsibility for what happened, as well you should. Whether this was your fault or not, you need to stay at the scene until it’s all sorted out, and that means you need the police’s help.

They can instruct you on what to do about property damage when they arrive. For instance, if your car careened off the road and into a nearby storefront, they’ll tell you what you need to do.

The time right after a car crash can be confusing, with the noise, lights, broken glass, etc. You’ll be glad the authorities are there to let you know what comes next.

Police Can Intermediate if There Are Any Disputes

In the time after a crash, it is not uncommon for people to have frayed tempers. If you or the other driver feels there was a flagrantly wrong handling of a traffic situation, then words can easily come to blows.

The police’s job is to step between people after an accident to ensure that no physical violence occurs. Far too often, assault charges can follow a vehicular accident if one party has strong feelings about what took place.

Having the cops and other authorities there as peacemakers is never a bad idea. They can step in between you and the other driver if that needs to happen. 

The Police Might Need to Stop Traffic During the Cleanup

911 is your conduit to the police, and once they arrive, one of their jobs might be to direct traffic out of the way if your wrecked vehicle is still on the road. Stalled cars you can no longer drive after an accident will require a tow truck to clear them away.

The cops can make that call for you if need be. You might be too injured or frazzled to do it yourself, and if you’re on a busy road, you need to clear away the debris so that traffic can resume at a normal pace.

Neglecting to call 911 because you feel like the accident wasn’t serious enough is never a good idea. Even if you’re dealing with just a small fender bender, getting the authorities involved makes things nice and legal. 

You won’t neglect anything that way, and you’ll have confidence that you did the right thing. That’s going to matter later if you need to appear in court.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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