Safer Driving on Cloister Streets…and Maybe Save Money


PoliceI had someone drive into the side of my car as I was driving on a street at The Cloister. She was simply backing out of her driveway and did not notice my car as I turned onto her street and drove past her driveway.

Some Cloister residents are advanced in age. Data shows that the elderly have more automobile accidents than a younger population. Bonney and I recently completed the AARP Safe Driving Course for Seniors and we get additional discounts on our USAA auto insurance for the following three years. We retake the course every three years to continue receiving these insurance discounts. Many insurance companies give special discounts to seniors who take a safe driver course sponsored by AARP.

I have found that USAA offers lower cost and better service for my auto and home insurance than other companies. USAA caters exclusively to military veterans and their families. Those of you who are veterans, or a family member of a veteran, perhaps a veteran grandfather from WW 2 or Korea, may want to consider insurance, investments and banking with USAA. You can find them at www.usaa.com or call 1-800-531-USAA (or 1-800-531-8722). I have been a satisfied USAA member for 48 years.USAAScreenShot

Here are a few hints to keep in mind if you ever get involved in any fender-bender, wherever it happens, and whether it’s your fault or not…..

1. Calm Down and Stay in Your Car

If your vehicle is still operable and you don’t have any serious injuries after the car accident, it’s a good idea to drive your vehicle to the side of the road to avoid another crash.  You may be in shock and unaware of any injuries.

2. Report the Car Accident

Call the police and 911  – or your emergency assistance equivalent.

Stay at the scene of the accident until the police have questioned and reviewed the incident getting your description of what happened. Be prepared to wait a bit for the emergency authorities to arrive.

Be very cautious about your health as not all injuries can be seen. If you or your passengers are not feeling right then call for an ambulance right away.

3. Emergency Preparedness Kit

Do you travel with the essential emergency tools that could keep yourself well in case of a car crash.

Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit

  • cell phone
  • disposable camera
  • pen and paper
  • medical information card – detailing insurance numbers, allergies and conditions that may require special attention if you are not conscious.
  • contact names and numbers: emergency numbers and relatives contacts
  • first aid kit

4. Exchange Car Insurance and Driver Details

After an accident, always exchange driver details and take some accident notes. Be sure to use your pen and paper (from your emergency kit) to gather the following:

  • name
  • address
  • phone numbers
  • driver license
  • license plate number
  • insurance company and policy number

5. Locate Any Witnesses

Did someone see the accident happen? Get their name and number just in case you need a witness for the accident. It’s good to know someone can speak up for you in case of a dispute.

6. Don’t Admit Fault

Don’t assign blame or admit fault or liability, even if you think you made the mistake. Let the police and insurance companies do their jobs and use their tools to come to a conclusion. You don’t want to admit to something in a state of shock or sadness.

7. Don’t Share Injury Concerns

If someone asks, “How are you doing?” keep a low profile by saying, “I’m shaken up”. The truth of the matter is you don’t know what is or isn’t wrong with you at this early stage. Besides, you don’t want to make statements while in shock and later have to refute them after seeking the advice of a medical professional.

8. Know What Your Car Insurance and Health Insurance Covers

Knowing your car and health insurance details could save you a lot of grief when dealing with a car accident scenario. It’s always better to know BEFORE an accident that you’re fully covered for ambulance trips, tow trucks, or rental cars.

9. Photograph and Document the Accident

Be sure to carry a disposable camera in your emergency kit to photograph the damage to all vehicles. If your cell phone has a built-in camera – then you’re good to go. Take photographs of the damage to your car, the other driver’s car, and the entire accident scene to give perspective of the event. Take wide shots of tire skid markings to show vehicle travel paths. Photographs showing the entire accident can help you make your case to claims adjusters if there is a dispute.

10. Seek Medical Attention

As small as an injury might seem at the time, get all health concerns documented sooner rather than later. Many injuries will start off as minor pains (like whiplash) which if not taken care of properly could get worse over a few short days. Besides, getting a doctor to document EVERYTHING sooner can only help any insurance claims you need to make later.

11. Report Accident To Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company to report the accident – even if the damage seems minor or the other driver wants to settle without making an insurance claim. Seemingly small fender-bender car accidents can reveal major damage later on – like a bent car frame – so get your insurance company in the know sooner or you might be without coverage when you really need it.

12. Remove Belongings from Car

Don’t forget to remove your valuables from your vehicle before it’s towed. Rescue any driving gadgets, insurance papers, repair reports, receipts, purse, wallet, or music before leaving your keys with the tow operator.

14. Be Thankful

People are priceless. Try the best you can to be thankful for what you have today, not for what you lost.

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