Being a good driver also means doing the right thing when involved in a car crash.
What months see the highest number of fatalities from vehicular accidents? December and January would be good guesses; in addition to the inclement weather in much of the country, all that holiday merriment surely leads to more impaired driving, and by extension, to more .
It might come as a surprise, however, that it’s actually the — June through September — that are the deadliest for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Between the increased traffic from family road trips, beach jaunts, concerts and festivals, and other fun-in-the-sun summertime events, and the copious amounts of adult beverages consumed at ball games and backyard BBQs, is it a wonder that there are more accidents?
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a crash, no matter what time of year, it’s important that you keep a cool head. Keep reading to learn what you should and should not do in the immediate wake of an accident.
1. DON’T Leave the Scene
No matter whose actions caused the accident or even what those actions were, it is never advisable to . Legality aside, it’s also morally irresponsible.
Stick around until the authorities arrive, get all the information they need, and tell you it’s OK to head home.
2. DO Make a Quick Check of the Scene
The police will need to come and make an accident report, so you have to call 911 anyway. But take a moment to ascertain what kind of condition everyone is in. If there are injuries, tell the dispatcher to send an ambulance.
If possible, make certain that all vehicles involved in the accident are out of the flow of traffic. And in the event that a vehicle is damaged so badly that it can’t be driven, or if participants’ injuries preclude moving the car, set up emergency flares to alert other motorists. The last thing you want is for more cars to be involved.
3. DON’T Blame, Accuse, or Point Fingers
This advice is easier said than done, but when it comes to engaging with the other driver(s) and/or passengers, it is crucial that you clam up. Do not yell or swear at them, ask what cereal box they got their driver’s license out of, accuse them of being blind, or let them goad you into an argument about who or what caused the accident.
Equally imperative? Do not apologize for your own actions. Saying that you’re sorry can be tantamount to an admission of guilt — it can be used against you in legal proceedings down the line.
Instead, call 911 if you haven’t already, and wait for the police to arrive. You can exchange insurance and information with the other parties if you can keep things civil. If you don’t trust yourself to keep calm, or if they are trying to engage you, sit in your car until the cops get there.
4. DON’T Forget To Collect Evidence
If there are witnesses to the accident, take down their info. This is especially smart if they can’t stay on the site and give police their account of what happened.
Another smart move in the wake of a collision is to document the scene by taking snapshots or video. Get pictures of each vehicle and any damage done to it, as well as some shots of the roadway and surroundings. If there are any weather conditions or other factors — a broken guardrail or debris on the pavement, for example — that might have impacted safety or played a part in the crash, shoot a short video.
“Now that everyone has a cell phone on them, it’s easier than ever to document the conditions that caused the accident and the damage done to your vehicle,” explain attorneys at . “Having photographic evidence is just a good way to protect yourself if there are any legal proceedings in the future.”
5. DO Seek Medical Attention
Even if you walk away from the crash without so much as a bruise or a scratch, you still should get yourself checked out by a doctor. See your primary care physician or visit urgent care either the same day or the next day.
There are some injuries and physical issues that can crop up hours, days, or even weeks after the accident. Therefore, it’s best to be on the safe side. Ask your provider what kind of symptoms to be on the lookout for.
6. DON’T Hesitate to Call an Attorney
A lawsuit might be the furthest thing from your mind in the aftermath of a crash, but consider consulting with an attorney anyway.
The payout offered by insurance might not be sufficient to cover the potential expenses incurred. You could develop a debilitating medical condition down the line, or the other party might decide to bring a suit against you. When the latter happens, you’ll need a qualified personal injury attorney on your side to fight back.
Besides, the consultation will be complimentary and will only take an hour or so of your time. Why not cross all the Ts and dot all the Is just in case?
5 Things To Know Before Your First Car Accident
Being preparing beforehand can reduce the stress and cost of dealing with a car accident.
It’s unfortunate, but if you’re a regular driver, you’ll probably end up in at least one car accident at some point in your life. If you’re lucky, it will only be a minor fender-bender.
Other motorists won’t be so lucky, and will have to deal with injuries and severe damage to their cars. But regardless of the severity of the accident however, there are a few things to know before getting in your first car accident so that you can best handle the situation whenever it arrives.
1. It’s Important to Stay Calm After the Accident
First, after getting into a car accident, you most certainly will be a little shaken up. This is natural, but it’s important to get yourself under control before trying to do anything else.
Trying to handle everything while you’re stressed or anxious will only make the situation worse, and you’re likely to forget something important.
There are a few things you can do to , but the best is probably taking a few deep breaths. Try breathing in through your nose for a few seconds, then out through your mouth. Do this a few times until you can feel some of the stress wearing away.
Another thing you might want to do is call someone close to you. A spouse or parent can help calm you down and talk you through the rest of the things that you need to do.
2. Check on Health Before Car Damage
Your biggest priority during and after a car accident is the safety of yourself and anyone else involved. As soon as you’re able, you’ll want to check in on yourself and look for signs of any injuries. After doing that, check in on any passengers you had in your car.
Once ensuring that everyone in your vehicle is okay, you can proceed to checking the passengers in any other cars involved.
Don’t worry about your car or anything else at this point — just make sure everyone is okay. If they aren’t, you’ll want to call for some immediate medical assistance.
3. Get Plenty of Information From the Other Drivers
If other drivers were involved with the crash, you’ll need to swap some information with them. Getting information from the other drivers is important, as it will allow you to file your insurance claim so that you don’t end up paying out of pocket.
After a car accident, it’s standard procedure to get their name, phone number, license plat number, and insurance information. You should also be prepared to provide the same information about yourself.
If the other driver doesn’t want to provide you with certain information, get as much as you can to identify them, then let the police handle the rest. Make sure to note down the license plate number and the make/model of the car, at the very least.
4. You Might Need Some Assistance
Next, it’s important to know that you might not be able to get through the entire accident process without some help. You may need to call a tow truck for your car, an ambulance if there are any injuries, a physical therapist to help you on your road to recovery or a if there are any legal issues.
Make your life easier, and look up some of these numbers beforehand and keep them with you wherever you go. You’ll feel more confident handling the accident if you have the number of your insurance provider and a good tow service in your glove compartment.
5. You Can Learn from Your Mistakes
Finally, everyone makes mistakes. There may come a day when you do something stupid and cause a car accident. Hopefully, if this happens, the accident isn’t too serious, and no one gets hurt.
But regardless, the important thing to remember is that you can learn from your mistakes. After the accident, take some time to go over the events and think about if there was anything you could have done differently.
The biggest mistake you can make during a car accident is not a better driver and repeating the mistake again somewhere down the line.
The More You Prepare, the Better Off You’ll Be
With the above information, you should find that any car accident you get into is a little easier to manage. They are never fun experiences, but they don’t have to be extra stressful.
Take some time to practice calming techniques and to learn important phone numbers. Doing these things won’t prevent you from getting into a car accident, but they can at least make the aftermath a little easier to handle.
How To Lease A Car And Get The Best Deal
Great tips for leasing a car like a pro.
Given the preponderance of advertised lease specials, people tend to see them like prix fixe meals in restaurants. They’re already set up, so all you have to do is choose the one you want.
While there are some really good offers out there, you can sometimes negotiate certain aspects of a lease and come away better off still. So, let’s take a look at how to lease a car and get the best deal.
Review Your Credit Report
It’s always a good idea to study your credit report before you apply for any type of loan. This is especially true if you haven’t examined it in a while. You’re entitled to one free copy of each of your three credit reports (from Experian, Equifax and Transunion) each year.
Look for errors along the lines of accounts you’ve paid in full listed as still having outstanding balances. You’ll also want to look for accounts in your name that you did not open.
Get any errors you find corrected. If all is well, check your credit score to see what interest rate you can get on a car loan. Most banks and credit unions offer this as a service to their customers.
Consider Resale Values
You’re shopping for a new car, so thinking about what it will be worth in the long run might be less of a concern. However, and this is a significant issue when it comes to determining what you’ll pay.
One of the primary factors of a lease payment is the rate at which the car depreciates. The faster its value goes down, the more you’ll pay to lease it.
While this aspect of the contract can seldom be negotiated, you can limit your shopping to cars with the best residual values.
Negotiate the Lowest Possible Purchase Price
Treat this phase of the process rather than a lease.
Your monthly payment will be based in part on how much you agree to pay for the car. Yes, a finance company is going to buy the car and rent it back to you, but the expense you incur will still be a percentage of that purchase amount.
This means you’re going to have to do the research to find the best price you can. Look for the invoice price, as well as what the car has been selling for in your area. Sites like offer this information readily.
When you’re communicating what you’re willing to pay with salespeople, let them think you’re buying rather than leasing. Experienced professionals can use the variables in a lease to give you the impression you’re getting a better deal. However, this is more difficult to do when you nail down the purchase price of the car first.
Structure Your Lease
Once you’ve settled on the car, color, options and price, tell the salesperson you’d like to see the deal set up as a lease as well as a purchase. Make sure the lease deal is based upon the same price as you were quoted for the sale.
In most cases, you’ll want a 36-month lease at 12,000 miles annually, with minimal drive-off fees. Nail down the figure you’ll be expected to pay if you go over on mileage (it’s averaging $.25 per mile these days).
Ask what interest rate the deal is based on. This is where knowing what your credit score qualifies you to get can give you some negotiating room.
They’ll come back with a “money factor” quoted as a four-digit number preceded by a decimal point. Multiply it by 2400 and you’ll get the effective interest rate.
Before You Sign
Make sure all of the terms of the contract match what you agree upon. Be aware you’ll also encounter some additional costs — these can include an acquisition fee, a security deposit and a disposition fee (which will be due when you return the car).
The other thing you want to ensure is the contract includes GAP insurance in case the car is totaled. This can save you from paying the difference between the value of the car at the time of the incident and the remaining amount on your contract.
The final thing you need to keep in mind when you’re considering how to lease a car and get the best deal is the car is rented — not owned. You must care for it with concern to avoid paying excess wear and tear charges when you return it.
How To Ship A Car Or Motorcycle – An Easy Guide
Learn what it takes to have your car or motorcycle shipped over long distances.
Moving between cities, regions, or even countries for work or other life circumstances? Maybe you purchased a vehicle from a faraway dealership and it’s too inconvenient to pick it up in person? Having your car or motorcycle shipped is a great option that can save you the trouble of driving it over a great distance.
While the process can be a bit burdensome, doing the proper research and planning can greatly facilitate your experience. This guide will teach you or motorcycle like a pro.
Determine What You Need
There are several things to consider before you hand your vehicle over to a shipping service. For starters, what is your budget? You need to know whether or not you can afford the necessary services.
Does the specific make of your car or bike necessitate an enclosed transport? Where should the vehicle be shipped, and do you need guaranteed delivery?
Will you be available for pickup and dropoff? Most carriers require someone to be available when the car is picked up to go over a bill of landing.
Knowing exactly what you need will make it easier for you to find a shipping company that can get the job done.
Find A Car-Shipping Company
Finding and communication with a shipping company is probably the most difficult part of the process. You will have to do an online search, compare quotes, decide how you want your vehicle shipped, and consider your insurance options.
The good news is that you are spoiled for choice.
Find A Vehicle Transporter Online
To find a car or , look no further than the internet. A quick search will pull up many companies, including brokers, all with websites describing their services and qualifications.
When you find several transporters of interest, them to make sure they have credibility. Ask all the questions you need to feel comfortable with what they have to offer for their asking price.
If you are struggling to decide between two or more competing shipping companies, a quick price comparison can make the decision easier.
Most have websites with a built-in cost calculator that can get you an estimate based on your car or motorcycle’s make and model, its condition, the pickup point and destination, preferred transport option, etc.
Open Transport Or Enclosed Shipping?
There are two primary transport options available for your vehicle — enclosed shipping and open transport. With the former, your vehicle is transported inside an enclosed truck, providing protection from outside elements, while the latter typically has the vehicle transported on an open carrier, usually with other vehicles.
Although covered shipping is the safest option, it’s also the most expensive. Open shipping is generally considered safe for most vehicles.
Look Into Insurance Coverage
Regular car insurance policies don’t cover a shipped vehicle in most instances, so check if the shipping company offers insurance coverage.
Some companies offer insurance that completely covers any damage sustained by your car during shipping.
Get Your Vehicle Ready For Shipping
After finding a shipping company, you would want to get your vehicle ready to be transported. The process includes deciding on a pickup date and cleaning your car or motorcycle.
Choose A Pickup Option
Most transport companies will you when they have a truck with an open slot that’s heading in the direction of your destination.
If the shipping dates don’t work with you, it might be possible to schedule a more exact date, though you will be charged extra money.
Clean Your Vehicle
It’s important to give your vehicle a thorough washing regardless of how it will be transported. Doing so will allow you to more easily notice and take note of any cosmetic damages.
Remove any personal items and secure any small parts (e.g. wide side mirrors, protruding fog lights, and spoilers) that can be damaged or break off your car during shipping. The shipper’s insurance may not cover such items.
Note Down Pre-Existing Damage
It helps to take pictures of the vehicle prior to shipping so that you can compare them to photos you’ll take after the vehicle arrives at its destination.
These photos will show if the car was damaged while being shipped, making them valuable evidence to show the insurance company should you want to file for damages.
Take Vehicle To Pickup Location
After getting your vehicle ready to be shipped, take it to the agreed upon pickup location at the time and date specified by the shipping company.
Be punctual! You wouldn’t want the transport truck to leave without your car or bike.
Have All Documentation Ready
Have all documents needed for identification on you, including your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Put them somewhere secure in the car before you drop it off for shipment.
Sign The Necessary paperwork
Sign any paperwork required by the shipping office, possibly including the shipping invoice and a certificate of origin for the vehicle. Make sure to keep a copy for your records.
Be Prepared To Wait
If you were expecting auto shipping to be as fast as shipping a package, you are in for a rude awakening. It could take a while.
Deliveries in the U.S., for example, have roughly a four-week window from when the car is picked up to when it will arrive at its destination. International deliveries can take even longer, with usually a six to eight week window.
Needless to say, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands before your vehicle reaches its destination.
Picking Up The Car
After waiting for days, if not weeks, to be reunited with your vehicle, it has finally reached its destination. Your next course of action is to get to the destination point, check for damages, and file an insurance claim if necessary.
Get To The Destination Point
Go and pick up the vehicle at the arranged date, time and location. After you had some time to inspect the vehicle for damage, sign the necessary paperwork to finalize the shipment.
Check For Damages
It’s not unusual for cars and motorcycles to be damaged while being shipped, so check the vehicle for damages that weren’t present before shipment.
If you notice anything unusual when compared to the pre-shipment photos of the car, take a few new photographs for proof.
File An Insurance Claim
You have the liberty to the shipper’s insurance company and file a claim if the vehicle is damaged upon arrival. Here’s where your before-and-after photos come in handy.