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Safety First: “Step Away From the Car!”

Recently, I was at the gym with a friend when he received an emergency phone call from his wife telling him that she had just been involved in a car accident. She had been hit in the rear and was pulled over onto the side of the road. Because I have heard too many stories of instances where people have been injured and even killed while standing on the side of the road after an accident, I told my friend to tell his wife to stand a good distance away from the car. When my friend arrived at the scene, he saw that, indeed, a second more serious accident had also occurred - a head-on collision, which had been directly caused by the initial accident. A car had crossed the double line to avoid the first accident and collided head-on with another car!
This highlights the fact that an accident scene is a very dangerous place. If you are involved in an accident, you might be confused about how to react and what to do immediately following the accident.  If it's a minor fender bender, like my friend's wife, you should move your car off to the side of the road if possible.  Be extremely careful as you exit your car. Stay very alert and cognizant of cars going by on both sides and in both directions.  Do not open the car door if there is any chance of it being hit by a passing car. Most importantly, once you're out of the car, do not stand around and risk being seriously injured.
 All too often, people get hit by passing cars in the aftermath of an accident while standing on the side of the road.  After you step out of your car remember to keep your distance, even after the police arrive. Perhaps because people feel a false sense of security that having just had one accident, they won't have another, or perhaps due to stress or distraction, they do not exercise appropriate caution at an accident scene. Do not, under any circumstances, stand in between the two cars.  A minor impact to either car can easily pin you between them. Be cognizant of the fact that the higher the speed limit, the more vulnerable you are. Don't hover around the cars inspecting the damage - Get the heck out of there! If someone is hurt in the accident or if your vehicle cannot be driven, leave your car where it is and call 911 for help. Carefully exit your car, or, if you stay inside your car, keep the seat belt on. This is important, send this article to your friends and family.   Stay Safe!

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