Expect the Unexpected: How to Handle 3 Common Driving Scenarios

Drivers are at the mercy of the road. A text message can divert the driver’s attention, causing an accident. Animals can run into the middle of the road, or a misjudgment can leave a driver on the side of the road pulled over by a cop.

Knowing how to handle these three scenarios is important for new drivers.

  1. Being pulled over by a cop

The situation: Drivers often get caught doing something wrong. Maybe the driver was blasting past the speed limit or checking a text messages in traffic. A police officer saw the driver doing it, and now the driver is welcomed with the flashing lights of a police car.

Be prepared: Obviously, motorists should obey the rules of the road if they want to avoid a traffic ticket. Not only will drivers be ordered pay a fine and potentially get points on their license, but they’ll likely also see an increase in car insurance premiums during their next renewal.

Pull over and stop the car as soon as it is safe to do so; stay in the vehicle at all times, unless otherwise instructed; make sure license, ownership, and insurance information are always on hand; and remain calm and polite – no matter what.

  1. Hitting an animal

The situation: An animal runs in front of the car, and there was no time to safely brake. This common scenario can throw drivers for a loop. In fact, one survey revealed that one in three drivers wouldn’t know how to respond if they saw an animal on the road.

Be prepared: When encountering wildlife on the road, the best course of action is to slow down and stop – if it’s safe. If it’s not safe, don’t swerve because swerving can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle or cause a collision.

There are a few general rules to keep in mind: never touch an injured animal; report the collision to the police if the animal is a road hazard for other drivers; and call the insurance provider as soon as possible for advice on how to file a claim if damage to the vehicle has occurred.

  1. Suffering an accident

The situation: A driver suddenly slammed on his brakes, causing a vehicle to hit him from behind. Or, the driver was safely crossing an intersection when another vehicle flew through a red light and crashed into the vehicle. It doesn’t matter the details – being in an accident can be very scary.

Be prepared: There are a few proper steps that should be taken in the aftermath of an accident. First, if it’s safe to do so, move the car out of traffic to the side of the road. Second, if anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately. Even if it’s not an emergency, drivers are required to call the police or a collision reporting center if someone is injured in the accident, or vehicles suffered damage.

Next, collect as many details as possible at the scene, and take photos of the damage to both vehicles. Finally, report the accident to the insurer even if not filing a claim. If the other driver decides that he’d like to file a claim down the road, the insurer might not cover the costs if the collision was never disclosed to the company.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.