Four vehicles were involved in a recent head-on crash in New Castle that seems to have been caused by someone driving the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway. Only minor injuries were reported in this incident, which is fortunate because head-on collisions often cause life-altering injuries to drivers and passengers.

Head-on collisions are not always caused by someone driving the wrong way on a road. They have also been caused by drivers who drift over the center line because they are distracted, drowsy or drunk.

Although you can practice safe driving habits to try to prevent being in car accidents, you might still be in a situation when you are unable to avoid a crash caused by another driver. If that situation ever happens to you, it can be helpful to already have an understanding of the steps you should take following the accident.

Stop your car and assess the situation

Immediately after the crash, you should stop your vehicle. If you are not in the way of traffic, you may be able to keep your vehicle where it naturally came to rest, but if it presents a hazard to others on the road, you must move it to a safer location.

Once your vehicle is safely stopped, check over yourself and your passengers for injuries. Then check to see if any other people who were involved in the accident are injured.

Reach out for help

If anyone is injured, you should call 911 and request both an ambulance and a police officer. Anyone who is injured should receive immediate medical attention.

You are required by law to get the police involved if a person is injured or killed, if an unknown person’s animal is injured, of if an unknown person’s property is damaged. Damaged property can include traffic signs or other signaling devices.

However, even if there are no injuries or qualifying damages, you may consider calling the police. The officer can help gather information that could become useful later if an insurance claim or lawsuit is filed.

Collect information

You are legally required to exchange information at the scene with others who were involved with the accident and police officers who may respond to the accident. This may include sharing your name and address, and showing your driver’s license, insurance I.D. card and vehicle registration.

You may also consider gathering additional information to help with any potential insurance claim or lawsuit. You may consider taking photographs of the scene and the damage to both vehicles. You may also consider collecting the contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the incident.

Follow up steps to consider after the crash

After the crash you may consider scheduling a medical examination. Sometimes symptoms of serious injuries do not show up immediately, but a medical professional can help rule out potential problems. If an examination reveals injuries, the injuries will be able to be treated before they become more severe.

Additional follow-up steps you must take include notifying your insurance company of the incident and filing a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you do not file form MV-104 with the DMV within 10 days of the accident, your driver’s license could be suspended.

Car crashes can be terrifying experiences. However, it is important to take the right steps following an accident to prevent further harm from happening.