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5 Tips to Handle the Stress
After an Auto Accident

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By Elliot Caleira

A car accident can be a very stressful experience. Even if you walk away without any injuries, you might find yourself jumping every time a car pulls out in front of you or you get behind the wheel. The stress can worsen because you do not know what to do after that accident or who to call. With some easy tips, you can manage some of the stress that you feel.

Contact Emergency Services
Some people claim that you shouldn't contact the police unless the accident caused at least $500 worth of damage. In the heat of the moment and the minutes after the accident, it's very hard for you and the other driver(s) to determine the amount of damage done. Calling 911 gives officers the chance to respond to the call and make a police report about the incident. They can talk to witnesses to find out what happened and decide who is at fault. This is especially important in situations where one driver blames the other. The police can also help you call for a two truck and arrange for other emergency services to come out.

Get Insurance Information
After the accident, you should make sure that you are safe. Calling the police lets you move your vehicle quickly, but the police can also block off the road to keep others from worsening the accident. You'll need to gather your insurance information and exchange that information with the other driver. Insurance companies usually need the full name of the insured driver, the policy number and the vehicle involved in the accident. You should get the driver's phone number and address too because your insurer may need that contact information. Exchanging insurance information lets you battle stress and relax because your insurer will take care of everything you need.

Talk About the Accident
A common misconception about car accidents is that you shouldn't talk about the accident. Some people think that this will keep the incident fresh in your mind and make it harder for you to move on with your life. Talking about the accident can actually help you get over your fears and any stress that you have. Surviving a more serious car accident that left you in the hospital can make you develop PTSD. Speaking with a counselor lets you go over your thoughts and feelings to conquer your stress and fears.

Go to the Hospital
Even if you think that you are fine after a car accident, you should speak to the paramedics and consider going to the hospital. Whiplash is one of the more common injuries that can occur after an accident, but the symptoms of whiplash can take up to 24 hours to develop. This occurs because your head and neck snap forward and then back at a fast speed, which puts pressure and stress on your body. Going to the hospital and having a doctor check you out can reduce any stress that you have about the aches and pains that you feel better.

Make sure you feel comfortable with your decision to leave the hospital. People may feel pressured to leave the hospital from the financial burden it may put on them, or from their pride in thinking that they are fine when they are not. Going back to your owned or rental home too early can be a very dangerous and stressful decision mentally, emotionally, and physically. Remember the doctors know what is best, and they are only there to help you recover in every way.

Give Yourself Time
When you shop around to find cheap auto insurance, you will be able to find an affordable policy that will cover any accidents that might cause on the road. After living through one of those accidents, you shouldn't expect to jump right back in your car and behind the wheel. You may feel uncomfortable, nervous, anxious and stressed when it comes to driving, which is why you need to give yourself some time. It may take a few days or longer before you feel comfortable enough to drive a short distance and months before you feel confident enough to take a road trip.

Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and for reasons far outside your control. Even if you survive with no injuries, you'll likely experience some stress later. Knowing what to do immediately after the accident and later on can help you relieve that stress.

Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. Twitter: @elliotcaleira.

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