How to Stay Calm During a Traffic Accident

Knowing how to stay calm during a traffic accident gives you control over the situation, and prevents you from causing further harm to your vehicle and other involved parties. Staying calm helps keep everyone safe and ensures the emergency is handled appropriately.


  1. 1
    Prepare to experience a wide range of emotions immediately following the accident. Traffic accidents can be scary and trigger emotions such as shock, fear, anger, and anxiety. Acknowledging and accepting that these types of feelings are normal puts you in control of yourself and the situation.
  2. 2
    Practice deep breathing for at least 10 seconds. Deep breathing helps calm your body so you can take the right action immediately following an accident. Breathe deeply using your diaphragm, then exhale fully through your nose.[1]
  3. 3
    Confirm whether you’ve been injured. Shock can numb your body to physical pain and make you unaware you’ve sustained injury. Take a moment to evaluate whether you feel pain or are seriously injured before attempting to move or help another.
  4. 4
    Contact emergency services. Police and emergency personnel are responsible for handling traffic accidents, and can remove you and your vehicle from dangerous situations. Call emergency services immediately and wait for help to arrive.[2]
  5. 5
    Turn off your vehicle. This helps reduce additional accidents and risks associated with fire and ignition switches.
  6. 6
    Protect the scene of the accident using hazard lights, flares, or traffic cones. This alerts other drivers and pedestrians of the accident, and helps keep involved parties safe until emergency services arrive.[3]
    • Leave your vehicle in its current position following an accident. This allows police and emergency personnel to professionally assess the accident and take proper action.
  7. 7
    Prevent other victims from sustaining additional injuries. This keeps other victims safe until emergency services arrive, and helps distract you from feelings of panic and anxiety. For example, use a coat or blanket to cover another victim in cold weather while waiting for the ambulance.
    • Avoid moving victims or performing first-aid when professional help is on the way. In some cases, moving injured victims can worsen existing injuries or cause fatality.[4]
  8. 8
    Avoid discussing the accident with parties other than the police and your insurance company. What you say following an accident can be legally used against you in a court of law. Avoid saying angry things or blaming the accident on other involved parties at the scene, and only speak to other drivers and victims to collect information and verify their safety.[5]


  • Mentally prepare yourself for the possibility of traffic accidents when on the road. Developing a plan helps you stay calm in the event of an accident. For example, keep a mobile phone with you at all times, and store an emergency kit in your vehicle that contains first-aid equipment and flares.

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Categories: Injury and Accidents