Our daily commutes usually involve vehicles that, if operated incorrectly, are not just vehicles but dangerous killing machines. That’s why a traffic problem is a significant issue whether the problem is relatively big or relatively small. Anything from a minute moving violation to a major traffic accident can have far-reaching impacts on our lives.
In this post, we’ll be discussing how to deal with everything from a simple traffic ticket to a car accident.
How To Handle A Traffic Ticket
If you haven’t experienced it at some point in your life, you more than likely will in the future. Those red and blue lights flash in your rearview mirror and you think, “This couldn’t possibly be for me!” But it is. And then you have to deal with the anxiety and potential embarrassment of being singled out from the road for breaking a traffic law.
If you’ve never experienced this situation, or have experienced it before and want to know how to handle it better, remember the following advice:
- When you see the flashing red and blue lights, immediately turn on your blinker to signal to the police officer you’re looking for a place to pull over.
- Stay calm. Remember, you’re just being pulled over for breaking a traffic law. This isn’t a life or death situation. The calmer you are, the better the interaction will be for you. This goes for whether you do or do not have anything illegal in your vehicle. There’s no better way to get an officer to try and search your vehicle than if you appear panicked.
- If you were speeding, slow down to the legal speed limit. However, you don’t need to slow down more than the speed limit until you’ve found a reasonable place to park.
- If a good place to park (a parking lot for example) is close, pull into it. This is usually better than pulling over onto the side of a busy road. It makes things safer for both you and the police officer.
- Turn your music off and look for your license, registration, and insurance. You will probably have time to find your papers before the officer makes his or her way to your vehicle, but if not, be sure to have the window rolled down and your hands on the steering wheel regardless. Then when the officer asks for your paperwork, continue looking.
- If you don’t have all of the right papers, just tell them. Consequences will be worse, but you really have no other option.
- Hand your papers to the officer. They’ll head back to their vehicle. Now’s the time for you to wait.
- When the officer arrives, they may or may not issue you a ticket. If you are issued a warning, safely pull back out into traffic and follow the traffic laws. If they issue a ticket, remember that this isn’t the time to fight it. If you do decide to fight the ticket, you should do so later with the help of a professional traffic ticket attorney. After receiving the ticket, pull out safely into traffic and observe all traffic laws.
If you’ve been issued a traffic ticket, the best thing to do is simply relax and sleep on it. A traffic ticket isn’t likely to have any effect on you for at least two weeks. That will give you plenty of time to decide whether you want to simply pay it off or fight it in court. If you decide to fight it, your chances of doing so successfully are far higher if you have professional legal representation.
How To Handle Being In A Traffic Accident
Whether it’s a simple fender-bender or a major collision, a traffic accident is a stressful situation. Even minor traffic accidents can have long-lasting effects on the body, including whiplash and musculoskeletal problems.
You will handle a traffic accident far better if you’re armed with the following information:
Document the scene of the accident.
It doesn’t matter whether the accident was your fault or the other party’s, you should document the scene of the accident as much as possible. Take as many photographs and videos as you can. Even audio where applicable. This can help you later both in terms of insurance and the law.
You can also take note of any injuries that you or the other party has sustained, although many traffic accident injury symptoms are latent in nature. It would be best to take these notes on your smartphone and email them to yourself that same day.
Move your vehicle if possible, and call the police.
A minor accident like a fender-bender will allow you to move your vehicle out of heavy traffic onto a side street or parking lot. However, if the damage is significant, turn on your hazard lights and physically remove yourself from traffic, leaving your vehicle.
Then call 911 and tell them what happened.
Exchange insurance information with the other party. If possible, take a picture of their driver’s license as well and allow them to do the same to yours.
What to do if the other party is uninsured.
Do not leave the scene of the accident. Get as much information from the other driver as you possibly can, including a picture of their driver’s license. Then you should contact authorities right away to inform them that the other party was uninsured.
File an accident report.
This should be done whether or not the police responded to the accident.
Call your insurance company.
You should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as you can. This is a good way to prevent yourself from being exposed legally to damages to the vehicle of the other party.
Have your vehicle repaired.
It’s best to have your vehicle repaired as soon as possible for both convenience and to ensure problems don’t get worse over time. Many insurance agencies will allow you to choose a car repair shop of your choice. If so, feel free to shop around.
Make sure to keep your documents organized.
There is a statute of limitations for initiating a lawsuit for a vehicle accident. This depends on the state and ranges from 1 to 6 years. If you do decide to initiate a lawsuit, it will be best to have all of the right documents in order.
Hire an attorney if applicable.
If you decide to initiate a lawsuit it’s always best to have legal representation. In fact, most professional attorneys usually hire other attorneys to represent them in court if they’re in trouble with the law. It’s always better to have an objective third-party there to represent you. Your chances of success will be far higher.