For many people, their immediate reaction after a motor vehicle collision is to inspect themselves and their passengers for obvious signs of injury. While this is typically an intelligent approach to take, assessing yourself for wounds or signs of trauma is not the only thing that you need to do.
You should also try to turn a skeptical eye on the other driver or drivers involved in the crash to determine if any of a number of common factors played a role in your crash. If you notice any of the following behaviors, you should absolutely try to document it, point out to other witnesses and discuss it with law enforcement officers when making an official report of the collision.
Does the other driver leave the site of the collision at any point?
Maybe they claim they just need to go to the gas station to go to the bathroom, or perhaps they seem to walk away because they are talking to someone on the phone. You should be skeptical of anyone who even temporarily leaves the scene of a collision.
They may do so to hide evidence that they don’t want law enforcement to find when they arrive. Whether they are ditching a stash of drugs, tossing a bottle of booze or deleting cellphone records that show that they were posting to Snapchat or illegally texting at the time of the crash, someone walking away from the scene of the crash may do so to ostensibly protect themselves from the repercussions of their own decisions.
Does the other driver show signs of impairment?
The adrenal response that occurs in your body after a sudden event can mask the signs of pain, as well as intoxication. Even someone who is clearly drunk or under the influence of drugs may appear sober briefly after the crash because of the chemical response in their body. That is one reason why it is of utmost importance to note any strange behaviors that could be a sign of impairment.
Staggered steps, vomiting and slurred speech are all warning signs of impaired driving. They could also be warning signs of a severe head injury in the other party, which is another reason why you should make a point of outlining those unusual symptoms to law enforcement when you make your police report.
Does the other driver want to control the narrative?
There is a practice known as gaslighting where one person uses their words and influence to convince someone else to doubt their own perceptions. Someone may repeatedly reiterate their version of how the crash occurred after a wreck, despite their version of events being quite contrary to your own experience of the accident.
That person may be doing so to get you and other people present to parrot their words when the police arrive. Make a point of asserting your own perspective, potentially even making a video on your phone to record your observations and thoughts or the way the other person speaks at the scene of the crash to prevent yourself from succumbing to this underhanded tactic.
Individuals who know they have responsibilities for a crash related to bad decision-making or illegal practices like driving after drinking may do just about anything they can think of to avoid the consequences of their actions. Watching for signs of underhanded behavior can protect you by ensuring that the person responsible for the crash is held accountable for their decisions.