Being involved in a crash can be scary for everyone involved, so there are some tips from AAA that you should know beforehand to make the incident less stressful.
"First, just take a few deep breaths," says Director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Northeast, Mary Maguire. "We can all get emotional right after a crash, so before you get out of your vehicle, take a few deep breaths."
After taking a few moments to collect yourself, Maguire says you need to assess the situation.
"Before you get out of your vehicle, make sure it's safe to do so," she said.
The danger may not be behind you once you're involved in a crash. Road conditions could be treacherous, especially in snowy or icy weather. So before getting out of your vehicle, make sure you're not in a situation that could be more dangerous when you exit your vehicle.
"You then should assess the safety of everyone involved," Maguire said. "Are you OK? Do you or someone else involved need help? Was a pedestrian injured? If so, that's when you should call 911 for help."
You should also think about moving your vehicle out of traffic if it's safe to do so. But before that, if it's safe, you need to document the vehicles' position by taking photos or video if you can.
"And make yourself visible to other drivers," Maguire said. "Turn your hazard lights on."
In some states, like Massachusetts, it's the law to have your headlights on if you're using your windshield wipers. So keep them on after a crash as another way to alert other motorists of your presence.
However, even by doing what you can to alert other motorists of the situation, some drivers may not be aware, which can be dangerous. Stay away from your vehicle until help arrives.
Maguire also said drivers should document as much as possible.
"Who was involved? Collect as much information as you can," she said. "Collect the other driver's information. Their name, address, (license) plate number, registration information and description of the other vehicle."
It's also important not to discuss who may have been at fault in the crash.
"Once you collect that information, call a tow truck and your insurance company," Maguire said.
It's essential to have an emergency kit in your vehicle, too.
"Carrying an emergency kit is very important," Maguire said. "Make sure to keep things like snacks, water and blankets in your car during the winter."