Vehicle accident tips for California drivers

Having a vehicle accident checklist prepared and ready to go can be very helpful for drivers in the often confusing moments after a crash.

There is usually nothing that can be done to make an Oakland driver feel positive about being involved in a vehicle crash. That is understandable. However, there are many things that can be done to alleviate some of the issues and difficulties that can arise at an accident scene and even in the claims process. Smart pre-planning can help new and experienced drivers alike navigate the often confusing auto accident experience.

Have emergency items ready

Drivers should make a priority out of keeping a stocked and updated emergency kit in their vehicles at all times. According to the Consumer Protection Association of America, following are some of the items that an emergency kit should include:

• Flares

• Flashlights

• Headlamps

• Reflective vests

• Cones

Each of these items can be helpful in securing an accident scene and in alerting oncoming traffic to an accident. It may also prevent other drivers from becoming involved in the crash and keep people safe when tending to accident details. Vehicle hazard lights can also be turned on to assist with this.

Keep an accident checklist

Remembering what information to provide to, or obtain from, other drivers can be more difficult than many people think after a crash happens. To prevent unnecessary problems, people can keep a checklist that helps them stay focused. The checklist should things on it such as other drivers' names, the time of the accident, the date, the location, and names and contact information of witnesses. It can also contain other instructions, such as making sure the cars are moved safely to the side of the road, calling for law enforcement and making calls to other professionals.

Take photos

Documentation is key to proving a claim for compensation and nothing is more powerful than photos that tell the tale. Most cellphones now have built-in cameras but drivers may want to keep a disposable camera in the car if their cellphone does not take the best pictures. When photographing the scene, people should capture any road marks, street signs or traffic lights, the entire scene itself and the damage done to their vehicle. Photos showing a beer can or wine bottle next to the other vehicle could also prove that alcohol was involved in such cases.

Retain a medical alert

Anyone who has a medical condition or takes any medication on a regular basis could benefit from keeping those details in their cars as well. State Farm indicates that this information may help emergency responders if a driver is unable to give such information to them directly.

File an accident report

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, any vehicle accident in California in which any type of injury is sustained, requires the filing of an accident report. The same is true for all accidents in which property damage exceeds $750. Every driver involved in a crash is required to file the report and all reports are to be filed within 10 days of the accident.

Consult with a lawyer

No matter how minor an accident may seem, complications can develop as the claims process plays out. Working with an experienced attorney can help drivers when the need to seek compensation arises.