What to do if you’re in a car accident in Atlanta

If you're in a car accident, don't leave the scene.

Being involved in a car accident is stressful.

Accidents – we’ve all seen too many of them (especially in Atlanta rush hour traffic). However, being in a car accident can be one of the scariest and most stressful situations you can be in. You want to make sure that you, your passengers, and the occupants of the other vehicle are all right while potentially dealing with another irate driver. Throughout all the chaos, it can be easy to panic and lose sight of what to do. So, here are the basic steps you should take after getting into a car accident.

What to do if you’re in a car accident.

1. Don’t leave the scene.

The latter half of your fight-or-flight instincts might be going into overdrive right about now. Whatever you do, fight the urge to flee. The consequences of fleeing the scene of an accident are going to be a lot more severe than just dealing with the car accident outright – especially if there’s any significant damage to the cars, injuries to the passengers of either vehicle, or fatalities.

If entirely possible, simply find a safe place like a parking lot, road shoulder, or turn lane for you and the other driver to pull into so that you don’t block traffic. If blocking traffic can’t be helped (like on the 4 or 5 lane highways that we love so much), try to move your vehicles into a position that blocks the least amount of traffic until the police or a tow truck can help you maneuver safely off the road.

2. Don’t admit fault.

Even if you’re pretty sure you’re the one that caused the whole debacle, don’t admit fault. It can almost be a reflex to try to apologize to the other driver if their car is damaged or if someone was hurt, but again, fight the urge. Try not to say anything that could be construed as you admitting fault for the car accident; your statements could incriminate you before any official fault is assigned by a lawyer, court, or insurance company.

3. Make sure everyone is okay.

Of course, you want to make sure that no one was hurt. Have everyone check themselves for any bumps, bruises, or scrapes from the incident. If someone has been knocked unconscious or has immediate neck or back pain, try not to move them until emergency responders are on the scene to tell you how to proceed.

4. Call the police.

Even if there were only minor injuries and the incident doesn’t exactly seem like an emergency, responders still generally recommend that you call 911. The operator will tell you whether or not the situation calls for emergency attention or if a non-emergency line needs to be called to simply clean up the accident and report anything. Calling 911 is also an almost surefire way to have an officer dispatched to the scene. Either way, you’ll want a police report on record, at the very least, for your insurance company.

Pro Tip: If you see an accident, but you don’t know enough of the details or you’re not one of the parties involved, you can call 311 where they’ll connect you or provide you with the number to your local non-emergency line.

5. Take pictures

This step will be important for filing your insurance claim at the very least and providing evidence for a court case at the very most. If and when it’s safe to do so, take pictures at multiple angles of the accident scene. You’ll want to get photos of your vehicle and the other person’s vehicle if they’ll allow it. Some carriers even recommend that you take video of any damages or injuries at the scene.

However you choose to record the incident, make sure that you keep the information in a safe and easily accessible space. Using a cloud system can be a big help if you’re using your phone to capture everything. You could also find somewhere to print your pictures out and store the physical copies in a secure location.

6. Exchange information

There are a few other pieces of information you’ll want to get from the other driver and vice versa:

  • First and last names
  • Best contact numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • The make, model, color, year, and VIN of both vehicles
  • The name and phone number of their insurance company
  • Auto insurance policy numbers

These are the ONLY forms of information that another driver absolutely needs from you after an accident. You can provide more information but be careful when doing so. Some people will use other forms of your information to steal your identity. So, never allow someone to take a picture of your license or your insurance card. Write everything down for the other driver and be careful about the additional information that you do share.

If you're in a car accident, take pictures of the vehicles if it's safe to do so.

7. Gather info from witnesses.

If there are any witnesses that stop and are willing to give their information, take down their name and best contact numbers in case you, your insurance company, or your lawyers need additional info or testimonies.

8. Call your insurance company.

Let your car insurance company know what happened as soon as you can. Tell them the entire truth about the incident. Lying or not telling them certain details could affect the payout of your claim, or it could cause them to outright deny your claim. Make sure you have the proper amount of collision coverage to handle the incoming costs of the accident. Find out what additional info they need that can’t be given over the phone and send it over to your agent as soon as possible.

If possible, also write down the name of the agent you spoke with and their contact number. Keep notes on all of your conversations with dates and times as a quick reference for you, but also as a method of reference for your agent, the insurance company as a whole, or your lawyer if they need it.

9. Keep a record of your medical expenses and treatments.

If you’re hurt in the accident or you recognize an injury within 2-3 weeks of your accident, make sure to document any medical treatments, visits, medications, or physical therapy costs that arise because you were hurt. It will give your insurance company a more detailed view of what they need to cover.

Also, keep track of how the injury affects your daily life: Are you still able to drive and maneuver easily with your injury? Did you have to miss work? Were you unable to cook or clean and you had to hire a service or eat take out? This type of info could allow your insurance carrier to reimburse you for some of these costs as well.

10. Get a property damage evaluation.

Have an adjuster assess the damages to your vehicle. If you disagree about how your insurance is reimbursing you or you have any concerns, feel free to get a second opinion from repair shops or a mechanic. (You may have to make sure that your second-opinion repair shops will take your insurance, though.) Be upfront with your adjuster about the concerns you have, and in a worst-case scenario, talk to your lawyer if you think you’re being unfairly charged or not covered properly.

11. Don’t talk about the accident.

Just as you don’t want to admit fault while you’re at the scene of the accident, you should also avoid talking about the accident while handling the case. The only people you absolutely need to talk to about your car accident are the police and your insurance company. If the insurance company of the other driver contacts you for a statement, direct them to the police report, your lawyer, or your insurance company.

12. Be careful about accepting early settlements.

Again, take about 2-3 weeks to see if you have any injuries that weren’t immediately apparent. Also, if your car wasn’t completely totaled, make sure to note any internal damage to your vehicle that you notice in that 2-3 week period. There may be other issues that weren’t visible at the time of the car accident, and they might not be able to be fixed if you take a settlement payment too early.

It may seem like a lot to remember, especially after going through something as traumatic as a car accident. Still, if you take these tips step by step, you’ll definitely find that you’re more equipped to remain stirred but not shaken if you are in a car accident.

However, it’s important to have the right car insurance in the first place to handle life’s little accidents. That’s why our insurance agents are experts at getting to know the exact type of car insurance you need for your specific lifestyle. And we’re masters at getting you the best rates! Call us today or fill out our online form to start getting free, customized quotes from an insurance expert.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-color-of-money-what-information-to-share-after-an-auto-accident/2012/08/14/ea635822-e645-11e1-936a-b801f1abab19_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.83fdd689dc1f

https://nextdoor.com/agency-post/ga/atlanta/atlanta-police-department/what-is-your-preference-for-reporting-non-emergencies-23095813/

7 tips for driving at night and your winter commute in Atlanta

Take care when you're night driving or when you're on the way home from work.

Take care when you're night driving or when you're on the way home from work.

You may have noticed that you’re driving a bit more in the dark for your morning and afternoon commutes. Fall Daylight Savings Time can bring a little extra time to sleep in, but it can also help the night (and the sun) sneak up on you during your morning and afternoon drives.  Here are 7 tips to keep in mind on your winter commute, whether you’re driving off into the sunset or into the night.

Tips for driving at night and commuting in winter.

1. Keep some sunglasses handy.

Your parents may have told you not to look into the sun. However, with 7 a.m. sunrises and sunsets at 5:30 p.m., that can prove rather difficult. Your sun visors can only cover so much windshield real estate. So, if your commute takes you east in the morning and to west in the afternoon, it’ll be a pretty good idea to keep some sunglasses in your overhead or glove compartment.

Polarized sunglasses will be best since they cut down the amount of glare dispersed around your windshield. However, anything that can provide eye protection from the sun’s rays is going to be better than nothing.

2. When using your headlights – Monkey See, Monkey Do.

It’s a good rule of thumb when turning on your headlights to observe your surroundings. Do a lot of other drivers have their headlights on? If so, it’s probably a good idea to turn yours on too. Your eyes might have an easier time adjusting to darkening road conditions, but it’s important to remember that your lights are also to let other drivers see you. Plus, with newer cars having automatic headlights, the lights of other cars can be a great tell-tale signal that it’s the recommended time of day to have them on.

3. Don’t use your brights!

Your high beams may help you see a lot farther than your normal lights, but they’re blinding to a lot of the drivers around you. High-beam lights, or “brights,” are really only meant to be used when driving in rural areas and on open highways that are NOT in metro areas. In fact, the Department of Driver Services states that you should not use bright headlights when:

  • You’re within 500 ft. of another vehicle.
  • You’re driving on a lighted road.
  • You’re driving in rain, fog, snow, or smoke.
  • Your vision is reduced to less than 200 ft.

If you’re having trouble seeing the road ahead, it’s okay to wait in your car before pulling out of your parking space to let your eyes adjust. If you still have trouble seeing at night, there are certain types of glasses specifically made for night driving. You may be able to find them at your local sunglass store, on Amazon, or through your eye doctor.

4. Remember your signal lights.

When you’re in low visibility (or driving at night), it can be hard to see how another driver is maneuvering. So, make sure that your blinkers are working properly and that you use them to signal when you change lanes or when you’re making a turn. Give yourself enough time for the cars around you to make room for your car, then move your car once you have adequate space to make your lane change or turn. Also, if you see another driver with their signal on, make sure to give them enough time and room to turn or merge by gradually slowing down to a safe speed that allows them to maneuver their vehicle.

5. Follow the leader, but not too closely!

An object in motion tends to stay in motion. It’s not just a fun factoid from your high school science class, it’s also a little detail that can cause a car crash if you’re following another car too closely. When you’re traveling at high speeds, your car wants to keep moving forward, regardless of if you’re applying the brakes (which is why you may fall forward a bit when you stop at a stop light.)

Think about it – there’s a lot that goes into stopping a car, especially when you’re behind another driver. You have to allow time to register the other driver’s stop, move your foot from the gas to the brake, apply enough pressure to stop the car, and then wait for the car to actually stop. During the night or lower-lit conditions, your perception and visibility are lessened, which makes this process take even longer. Even if this interaction only takes a few seconds, not allowing enough space for all of this time to pass will usually slam you straight in the middle of an accident. (And remember, your driving record is one of the factors that affect your Atlanta insurance rates.)

So, what’s the easy fix? Give yourself a little space! You’ll have plenty of distance to maneuver safely in traffic, and the driver in front of you may actually go faster because they’re not blinded by your headlights in their rearview mirrors.

6. Keep Your Windows Squeaky Clean!

The same way that the tiny bulbs in your headlights and taillights can light up your way home is the same way that the lights of other vehicles can completely hinder your driving. Dirty, smudgy windows can help light disperse across your windshield, making it too bright to see the road ahead. Smudges can also warp the vision through your windshield, and dirt can create new blind spots altogether.

It may be tempting to skip the car wash since they’re less pollen and dust in the air, but giving your windshield a wipe-down in the winter can help a lot when you’re dealing with lower visibility (like when you’re night driving.)

7. Don’t fight the weather

With all of the snow forecasts turning into rain, it can be difficult to tell what the weather conditions will be on your drive home. However, whether you’re caught driving in the rain, sleet, ice, or snow, it’s important not to fight the weather (especially if night driving is involved.) If you don’t feel safe getting or staying on the road, trust your gut! It’s better to be a little late to your destination than to put yourself or others in danger if you have trouble seeing, maneuvering, or driving in stormy weather. Pull over to the side of the road, put your hazard lights on, and wait out the storm. (And don’t forget to get your car ready for winter before the weather gets really cold!)

Remember, it’s important to keep yourself safe behind the wheel of the car by being aware of other drivers. The thought of getting home and finally relaxing after a long day can put you in a bit of a hurry. However, if you’re driving at night, taking extra caution and being even more aware of your surroundings can be a great help in reducing accidents and getting home safely.

In a worst-case scenario, though, it’s important to have the right Atlanta car insurance for your day and night driving needs. And we can help you get great rates! Call our agents today to find out how you can save money on car insurance, or just fill out our online form to start getting affordable rates on car insurance in Atlanta.

Source:

http://www.eregulations.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/18GADM-LR.pdf

10 tips to prepare your car for another Atlanta winter

It's important to get your car ready for the winter weather.

It's important to get your car ready for the winter weather.

Okay, it’s true that Atlanta isn’t the coldest or most severe climate in the country as far as winters go. However, our winters can still get pretty cold. We even occasionally see snow! (Or, well, flurries.) Anyways, the point is that when a “winter weather event” swoops in, it can happen with little warning. That’s why it’s important to take steps now to get your vehicle ready for the winter. Check out these ten steps to get your car all set for the cold.

Preparing your car for the winter

1. Take your car to the mechanic.

Yes, going to the mechanic might not be your favorite thing to do. But they’re the pros, and they can check the following things:

  • The battery
  • The antifreeze
  • The thermostat
  • The brakes (Kind of important, right?)
  • The heating system (So you don’t turn into a popsicle while you’re on the road)
  • The defroster (Since having a clear windshield is helpful for driving)

So, get a trustworthy, reputable mechanic to give your car a quick check-up. The cold weather can do weird things to a vehicle, and you can hit the road with more confidence knowing your car is (hopefully) ready to take it.

2. Make sure your tires have the proper tread depth.

If your tires look like they’ve seen better days, it might be time for new ones. Your tire tread depth needs to be at a safe level so that the tire can grip the road properly (which is especially important in winter, when it rains a lot.) Bald tires plus winter does not equal a safe ride.

3. Check your tire pressure.

Winter weather can wreak havoc on your tire pressure. It can actually cause the pressure to drop, meaning that you might need to add a little bit of air. Make sure to keep an eye on your tire pressure and pay attention to your tire pressure light.

4. Check the car’s lights.

Do a check of your vehicle’s lights. That means headlights, taillights, brake lights, hazard lights…Basically, just check all the lights and make sure they work and no bulbs are out. All of your lights need to be fully functional so that other drivers can see you. You’ve probably noticed that Daylight Saving Time and winter means it’s getting darker a lot earlier these days. You’ll probably need your headlights more in the winter, and you’ll need other drivers to be able to see you.

5. Think about your windshield wiper fluid and wiper blades.

You can also consider swapping your windshield wiper fluid for on that’s specially designed for winter and its freezing temperatures. (Normal wiper fluid can actually freeze when the temperature takes a nosedive.)

6. Consider your wiper blades.

Yes, it might not snow too often in Atlanta, but we do get frost and ice. You might want to think about switching your wiper blades for winter ones that are made to combat snow and ice. Being stuck with snow, frost, or ice on your windshield can make for a frazzled morning if you’re trying to defrost your car and you’re running late for work.

7. Check your windshield washing system.

It’s really not fun to drive with a dirty, grimy windshield that you can’t see through very well, especially when the sun hits it just right and plays tricks on your visibility and eyes. Make sure your windshield washing system is ready to go so that you can clear off your windshield if needed.

8. Pack an emergency kit for your car.

Just in case you get stuck somewhere or your car breaks down, it’s a good idea to have an “emergency kit” packed and loaded in the truck. Include items like:

  • Blankets
  • Extra clothes and sweaters
  • Nonperishable snacks
  • Water
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • A first aid kit
  • A snow/ice scraper (Yes, this is a useful item to have even in Atlanta.)

9. And don’t forget to clean the car off before you drive.

If there ever is snow or ice and it coats your car in white powder, make sure to take the time to brush it off and clean off the car. Clear the windshield, the hood, the roof, your headlights, and your taillights. It might be cold and it might take a little while, but it’s safer to plan to spend those few extra minutes than to have your visibility obstructed.

10. Check your auto insurance.

Okay, okay, we don’t want to sound pessimistic…but if you do have a little snafu with the car, it’s important to know what your Atlanta car insurance will cover. Check your limits of car insurance and your coverages so you know how your insurance will protect you. What are your limits of liability insurance? Do you have collision and comprehensive coverage? What’s your deductible? Are you prepared for what the winter could bring?

Another winter is upon us, which means that it’s time to make sure that your car is ready for the cold weather and the possibility of snow. Yes, even in the South it’s important to make sure your car is winter-ready and safe for the entire season.

Looking for car insurance quotes? We can help. Our agents are here to help you get multiple quotes for Atlanta car insurance so you can look at different coverage options and prices. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.

Source:

https://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/accidents-hazardous-conditions/how-to-prepare-your-car-for-winter1.htm

5 reasons to drive safely (Hint: You could save on Atlanta car insurance)

Driving safe can help you save on your car insurance.

Driving in Atlanta is always a bit of an adventure. Narrow streets, roadwork, limited parking, and, of course, figuring out how to survive Atlanta traffic! Perhaps even more intimidating than driving in the city is car insurance. It’s important to learn about car insurance so that you can answer common car insurance questions, but you might dread thinking about auto insurance because the rates can be so expensive. But there’s a simple, easy way to save on your car insurance – driving safe. We’ll give you five car-insurance-related reasons to be a straight-A driver.

1. Your car insurance premium is directly related to your driving record.

When an insurance company goes to give you a quote on your car insurance, they look into your driving record. They’ll most likely check your record for accidents and tickets from the past three to five years. From your record, they’ll determine how much of a risk you and your family are to insure. The higher a risk you are, the more you’ll have to pay for insurance. Insurance companies consider accidents and tickets to be risky because statistically, drivers with tickets and accidents will have more tickets and accidents in the future.

2. If you have no tickets or accidents, you might be able to get lower quotes when you shop.

If you have good driving habits and have a clean record, your premium will reward you and you’ll end up paying less for your auto insurance. The quotes you’ll receive from auto insurance companies will be lower – you may even be pleasantly surprised!

3. After a few years of good driving, you may be able to get a discount on your rates.

If you go for a good amount of time with no tickets or accidents, you could qualify for a discount on your auto insurance rates (depending on your carrier, of course.) Insurance companies like to reward drivers who drive safely. The fewer claims you have, the better. You want to present as little risk as possible to the insurance company, and that means no accidents. And that means no distracted driving, speeding, drowsy driving, or other risky driving behavior. Sure, we can’t control the actions of other drivers on the road, but we can control our own actions. And that means making conscious choices to be a safer driver and avoiding distracted or unsafe driving.

4. By driving safe, you might be able to qualify for accident forgiveness.

Usually, having a car accident would make your rates go up – insurance companies don’t like risk, remember? If you’ve had a clean driving record for a good amount of time, your carrier might allow you to have accident forgiveness. That means that if you do happen to have a car accident, your rates would not go up. Ask if your carrier has accident forgiveness.

5. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to lower your deductible.

The deductible is the amount that you agree to pay if you have a claim before the insurance company will step in to help you cover costs. Of course, this all depends on your insurance company. But if your company does allow you to lower your deductible for having a clean driving record, that means less money out of your pocket if you ever have a claim.

Being a safe driver and keeping your full attention on the road is important to help you avoid a car accident. This is your health and life that we’re talking about, along with the safety of other drivers on the road. Apart from preventing accidents and injuries to yourself and others, being a safe driver can help you save on your car insurance. So, as you can see, there are many reasons to be a careful driver and avoid risky driving when you get behind the wheel.

Looking for a car insurance quote in Atlanta? We would love to help you get the car insurance you need so you can hit the road with peace of mind. All you have to do to get in touch with one of our insurance agents is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today – we’d be happy to help you with all of your insurance needs!