Meliha Perez Halpern is now Senior Counsel at ChasenBoscolo

Your Holiday Travel Checklist! (Print This Out to Keep in the Car)

You’ve finally got the kids in the car, so it’s time to buckle up and start the hour-long drive north to Grandma and Grandpa’s home in Frederick. It’s been a hectic morning that started with a trip to Lulu Florist to pick up the Christmas centerpiece for tonight’s dinner. Then your spouse called to say that your son got too enthusiastic while reenacting one of many fight scenes from The Last Jedi and knocked over the jars of homemade cranberry jelly, forcing you to hurry to Harris Teeter for a last-minute replacement.

After a morning like this, you’re bound to be frazzled. A lot. Combine this with slippery road conditions and a surplus of motorists who are just as anxious to get to their destination as you are, and your risk of a collision goes up.

Although none of us get behind the wheel anticipating a crash, statistics prove that the Christmas and New Year’s season is a time when road travel is particularly hazardous. According to AAA, nearly 95 million people across the country will be traveling long distance to visit family and friends at this time, so even though you’re likely to enjoy a safe holiday season this year, it’s important to prepare for the possibility of a collision or at least be proactive, and know what to do afterwards.

Your Crash Emergency Kit

You should always have a crash emergency kit on hand. At the very least, it should consist of the following:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Flares
  • Orange cones or a reflective triangle
  • Seat belt cutter
  • Window breaker

These items can help you get out of a damaged car more quickly, alert other motorists that an collision has occurred, and treat minor injuries until help arrives.

Collision Action Plan

If a crash occurs on the road to Frederick, safety needs to be your number one priority. This means that once the shock and panic have subsided, make sure that everyone in the vehicle is all right. If anyone is clearly injured or appears unhurt but is behaving unusually, call 911. Head injuries and internal injuries may not be immediately apparent, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If everyone seems to be okay, move them all to safety as soon as possible. If the vehicle is not too damaged, move it to the shoulder of the road, but if anyone is hurt or the car is inoperable, leave it where it is. Turn on your hazard lights to increase your visibility as much as possible.

Call the Police

Get the police involved immediately, even if the crash is only a minor one. They will investigate the circumstances of the incident and create a report that you can use when you make an insurance claim later.

Get the Other Driver’s Contact Information

While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, it’s important that you get the other driver’s insurance information and their contact details. While speaking to them, do not admit guilt or apologize, as this can make things more difficult for you if you have to pursue a personal injury claim later.

If there were witnesses to the crash, get their names and contact information.

Take Photos of Any Damage

Use your smartphone to take photos of the collision site, the damage to all vehicles involved, and any injuries that may have occurred. Email the images to yourself for safekeeping in case the phone gets lost or damaged later.

Write Down What Happened

As soon as you are able, get a notebook and write down exactly what happened. Include the following details:

  • The date and time of the collision
  • The location (indicate the road or nearest cross street)
  • Road you are on or the nearest cross street
  • The direction you were traveling in
  • The direction the other car was traveling in
  • Driving conditions and overall visibility
  • The moments leading up to the collision

Writing everything down while the memory is still fresh will make it easier to provide an account to your insurance company afterwards.

See a Doctor if Necessary

Even if there are no apparent injuries, get a complete medical examination for yourself and everyone else in your vehicle if you feel the collision was bad enough to merit one. If health problems appear suddenly later on, there needs to be a discernible link between the crash and these medical complications.

We hope you have a safe and merry holiday season, but if you or someone you love are injured in a collision on the roads of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., the law office of Pérez Halpern LLC is here to advocate for you. Automobile injuries can have serious consequences such as medical expenses, lost income, and emotional distress, so it’s important that you take action under the right kind of legal guidance. To schedule a consultation, call 1-301-476-1020 today.

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