The last thing you want to think about when planning a family vacation is the possibility of an accident, but unfortunately, accidents don’t wait for the most convenient time. Whether you are taking a road trip in your own vehicle or renting a car when you arrive at your destination, some advance planning can save a lot of trouble if an accident does happen.
Plan Before You Go
If you plan to rent a car, check with the rental company about the laws of the jurisdiction in which you will be driving in. Some jurisdictions have “no-fault” laws, meaning that in a minor accident, each driver’s insurance will pay for the damage to their vehicles, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If you are traveling to a “no-fault” state, talk to your insurance agent before you go to see if your policy will cover damages to your rental car. Regardless of where you are traveling, you should make sure you are adequately covered by your insurance when renting a car. If your insurance does not provide the coverage you need, supplemental insurance is always available from the car rental agency.
If your vacation plans include travel to any foreign countries, it is even more important to check with your insurer before you go. International travel may not be covered by your plan.
Extra Caution is Important
Many factors can increase the chances of accidents while traveling. A common cause of accidents for travelers is unfamiliarity with their surroundings. When traveling in an unfamiliar area and relying on GPS navigation, you may find yourself having to brake quickly or make a sudden lane change. Since those actions are among the most common causes of highway accidents, it is important to plan your route in advance to minimize such situations. Missing an exit and having to backtrack is a minor inconvenience compared to an auto accident, which at the very least, will set back your vacation plans.
If you are renting a car or recreational vehicle, take some time to familiarize yourself with the vehicle before you get on the road. Distracted driving is almost as dangerous as drunk driving, and you do not want to be searching for your light switch or turn signal while driving on the highway at 65 miles per hour.
Special caution is needed if you rent a recreational vehicle, especially if you have never driven anything larger than a passenger car. Drive the vehicle around for a couple hours before you start your trip to become accustomed to its size and handling. Learn where the vehicle’s “blind spots’ are. When traveling, remember that a larger vehicle will take longer to stop, and may be more likely to overturn than a passenger car.
If You are in an Accident
If you do find yourself in an accident while traveling, remember the following tips:
- Report the accident to your insurance company, and to the car rental agency if you are in a rented vehicle.
- Report the accident to the local police and get a copy of any police report.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are injured or think you may have been injured.
- Talk to a local attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
New York Accident Attorney
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