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by Owen Lambourne on Apr 11, 2011

On April 7, 2011 I was involved in my first traffic collision in a very long time. What valuable lesson have I learned from that brief, violent moment that I had not previously thought of after more than 30 years of experience in the insurance business? First, the details... I was on my way home from work and the first vehicle stopped for a red light shortly before 7:00pm. There had been a light rain falling for about 10 minutes, so I had turned on my headlights and had taken the cap off a bottle of water to get a drink. About that time I heard the skidding of tires from somewhere behind me and within seconds. I was lying on my back staring into the faces of two complete strangers while wearing a neck brace and strapped to a board that was as hard as a rock! They were asking me all kinds of questions in a language I didn’t really understand, and all I wanted to do was figure out where I was and who these people were! As time passed I figured out that I had been rear-ended by another motorist and was being treated by emergency personnel in an ambulance. I had been unconscious for roughly 8 - 10 minutes after the impact and paramedics were anxious to get some vital medical information from me so they could administer appropriate first aid at the scene and on the way to the hospital. The police also wanted to contact my loved ones for me and make them aware of my situation. The frustrating thing was that because of the concussion and loss of consciousness, even the simplest information was not easy to recall. Initially, I could not remember my own birthday, home telephone number, what city I lived in, etc. Eventually, all this information came back to me but it wasted valuable time. After speaking with several people in local fire departments and in law enforcement, and with the experience of my own situation to guide me I suggest that every driver operating a motor vehicle should keep a current Emergency Contact card in their wallet or purse next to their driver license. Moms and Dads should also consider keeping copies of their children’s information if they are frequent passengers in their car. The card should contain, at least, the following: - Your Name - Known Allergies to Any Medicines - Medications You Are Currently Taking - Emergency Contact Name(s) and Their Relationship(s) to You - Current Phone # for Contact(s) And / Or Address Some of the above information seems pretty simple unless you were like me – unable to speak at all for the first 10 minutes and then pretty confused for a little while after that. The police had the basics from my driver license: my name, address, and birthday. I still have a publicly listed home telephone number, but many people don’t. Many people use cell phones exclusively now. I would like to publish an Emergency Contact card here on the website and make it available for anyone who would like to use it. If your information changes you can simply come back and print a new card. It would be helpful to know if I’ve covered everything that should be on the form. If you think of anything that should be added or amended please go to the “Contact Us” page to drop me a note. I’ll consider any feedback I receive. Thanks for reading – and safe driving!

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