It Will Never Happen To Me!
“I will never get into a crash-collision.” “I’m a super great driver.” You may never say these words out loud. But, your brain may be thinking otherwise. And, this may cause you to unknowingly make poor choices. The purpose of this article is to bring awareness of the prevalence of automobile crash-collisions, and what to do when you get in one.
First of all, let’s look at the Psychology of “It won’t happen to me”. The term, “Unrealistically Optimistic”, is a medical term for people used by psychologists.
People that have a sense of or, act upon the thought, that a personal future outcome will be better than (beat the odds) actual relevant, objective standards. In addition, unrealistic optimism occurs when people improperly predict that their personal outcomes will be better than the outcomes of their peers (other truck drivers).Shepperd et al., 2013
Here is a great article that is easy to read to understand how the brain works with optimism bias:
The cold hard evidence is printed in black and white. However, the brain still says “It will never happen to me”:
According to the Bureau of Labor, there are 2,000,000 active commercial truck drivers in the US as of 2020. Every year, 450,000 of those truckers will be involved in a serious car crash. That means there is around a 20% chance that you will be personally affected by a crash-collision. ONE in FIVE!
The time has come to call it what it is. A crash-collision.
Someone is at fault. Calling a crash-collision an accident is ambiguous. Using the word ambiguous implies that no one is at fault.
7 must do’s when involved in a crash-collision
#1 STAY CALM
The first thing you should do is immediately pull over and stop as soon as it is safe.
It is vital that you stay calm. Gather your emotions even if some idiot caused the crash-collision. You may feel a wide variety of emotions. However it is best to take a few seconds to compose yourself so you can think clearly. The best way to recenter yourself is to take a few deep breaths. Count to 7 inhaling through your nose, and again count to 7 as you exhale through your mouth. It is incredible how well this simple trick works! The next thing to do is shut the motor down, flip on any hazard lights, and engage the emergency brake.
#2 Check for Injuries
The very next thing you need to do after a crash-collision is to check yourself for injuries. There are the obvious injuries such as broken bones and lacerations. However, there could be more injuries than meets the eye.
The first one is shock. Oftentimes you won’t realize that you are in shock. The symptoms of shock are important to be aware of so you can ‘Diagnose” yourself and take action.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Clammy or cold skin
- Pale skin, with blueish or gray lips or fingernails
- Irregular heartbeat or chest pain
- Quickened or weak pulse
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid breathing
If the crash-collision incident is traumatic enough the shock symptoms might be delayed. The brain has ways of protecting itself from traumatic events. So, stay aware of how you are feeling, even though you might feel fine.
There is a second type of injuries that can occur in crash-collisions where the symptoms may not present themselves immediately. And those are, neck and back injuries, even minor neck injuries can lead to chronic pain, temporary disability, or even worse, long term disability. It is best to have your spine examined by a professional that can diagnose and rehabilitate the spinal column as soon as possible.
Once you have checked yourself for injuries it’s time to check on the other people involved. Although it is not required to have a first aid kit/emergency bag in your rig, but it is best to have at least the very basics. You never know, you just might save someone’s life.
#3 Place roadside emergency warning equipment
Don’t forget the warning equipment must be placed within 10 minutes of the crash-collision. In addition, it is required to carry a minimum amount of equipment with you. If you need a reminder of the required equipment follow this link. However, don’t just stop at the bare minimum. There is a lot of new emergency equipment available to help keep a crash-collision site as safe as possible.
#4 Contact the Authorities
Once the immediate actions have taken place after a crash-collision, its time to contact the authorities.
There is specific information the authorities will want to know in the event of a crash-collision.
- Crash location
- How many involved including the severity of injuries – so they can get medical services notified properly and action can happen quickly
- Extent of the property damaged
- Drivers contact info
#5 Start the Documentation Process
The insurance company, your employer, and you personally will want complete and total documentation of the crash-collision event.
The absolute best tool for documenting a crash-collision is in the palm of your hand. Video and photo evidence are by far the evidence of what happened. Modern smartphones are incredible. Here are a few tips on what to gather with a phone after a crash-collision.
- Film the entire scene including the surroundings with slow steady camera movements
- Take Photos of all the vehicles from all angles
- Capture any skid marks and other relevant evidence besides the vehicles
- Photo and video any property damaged
You will want to collect full documentation of drivers and vehicles involved in the crash-collision.
- License number
- Full names
- Contact information including phone numbers
- Drivers license number
- Police or investigators information
- Contact information
- Department the officer
#6 Inform all Companies with Property that was Damaged in the Crash-Collision
Well, now it’s time to contact your employer or contract company or maybe even the owner of the load you were transporting at the time of the crash-collision. The better you collected evidence and documentation the less painful this process will be.
#7 Start the Actual Paperwork
Trust me on this, it will be easier if you grab all the information upfront and right away. Having to deal with a crash-collision is enough of a pain. Therefore, staying on top of processes is really important.
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