A car accident is something one hopes to never experience, but realistically everyone experiences a car accident of some kind at least once in a lifetime.

No one drives expecting to get into an accident, so when you experience a car accident it usually leaves you feeling disoriented, scattered and stressed in the moment. Because your adrenaline is pumping and you have just been caught off guard, the post-accident process can be a stressful situation if you are not prepared. Brush up on what to do after a car accident now while you are calm and level headed.

Knowing what to do in the event of a car accident before-hand can help the post-accident process go much more smoothly. See this post for some tips on what to do after a car accident because these are helpful tips to ensure your safety and help you get through the post-accident procedures as seamlessly as possible.

1. Find Safety

Move to a safe area after your accident. And if you aren’t seriously injured, move your car out of the way of more potential danger. It is best to move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road as far away from traffic as possible. If moving your vehicle is not possible, then be sure to flip on your hazard lights to warn other drivers.

2. Always Turn Off Your Vehicle

It is important to turn off your vehicle and make sure that it is no longer moving. Turn off the engine, shift into park, or set the hand brake if you drive a manual.

3. Remain Proper Composure and Check Yourself

Check yourself and sure you are okay. Take a deep breath and try to calm down your nerves. Your heart will be racing and your adrenaline skyrockets after getting in an accident.

4. Check on Other People Involved

Check to make sure it’s safe to get out of your car before opening the door. If you happen to have flares or similar road safety items, you should use those during this time. Exit your vehicle and check on all the other parties involved, including drivers, passengers and pedestrians, to make sure no one is hurt. Call 911 if anyone is injured. Even seemingly minor symptoms such as dizziness should be checked out by a healthcare professional as concussions and whiplash are common car crash casualties.

5. Ask for Help

Even if the accident is a minor fender bender, a police accident report can prove invaluable when dealing with your car insurance company and other drivers. Cooperate with the police when they arrive, but avoid admitting fault or blaming others while at the scene. Let the police objectively judge the scene and determine who, if anyone, is at fault in the crash. If the police are unable to make it to the scene of the accident (which is more probable if there are no injuries), you can file an accident report through your state’s DMV.

6. Get some Photos of the Accident Scene

If you have a smartphone with a camera, snap some photos of the accident scene. Take photos of your vehicle’s damage and any other vehicle with damage. Those photos will come in handy during the insurance claim process.

7. Call Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company and file your claim. If you aren’t sure who to call, check your insurance ID card for your insurer’s contact information. Once you speak with your auto insurance company they will usually have you make an appointment to get a vehicle damage estimate at one of their inspection sites. If your car isn’t safe to drive, they will probably send an insurance adjuster to look at your car at the location where it has been towed.

8. Call a Towing Company if You Need One 

If you have been in an accident and need a tow truck company, you need to be prepared and ask for recommendations for local towing services.

To help prevent future stress it may be helpful to keep a vehicle safety kit in your car as well as a phone charger. It is also helpful to keep your most important information such as your vehicle registration, health insurance cards, emergency contacts, and ID in your glove box in case of an accident. Hopefully these tips will help out and will give you a better idea of what to do after a car accident. Drive safely, but be prepared!