Image by Valter Cirillo from Pixabay

The moments just after a car accident are significant. These few minutes often have far reaching financial, medical, and emotional consequences.

And yet, they are moments defined by chaos and spiking adrenaline--the perfect cocktail to prevent a cool-headed response.


Which is why it can be helpful to plan ahead. Like all first aid, gaining a subconscious understanding of the necessary steps is pivotal.

That way, when an accident occurs, you're movements will be automatic. You'll kick into gear and respond appropriately.

A recent Reddit thread offered a grab bag of preparatory car crash wisdom.

EnemyFriendEnemy asked, "People who have been in car accidents: what is some advice you could give to those who haven't?"

Defense is the Best Offense 

"Wear your seatbelt, 50% of fatal crash victims could've survived if they'd had worn a seatbelt." -- chrisudenm

"This. One of the worst accidents I ever was in was with a gf who didn't wear a seatbelt or vaccinate her kids, so I strictly enforced a 'click it or lick it' rule when we were driving in my car."

"Got tboned and then hit by another car just ten seconds after she buckled. All airbags deployed and we hit our heads together so hard we both got concussions."

"I hate her now, but I'm glad she listened that day." -- Drunkensteine

Head on a Swivel

"Always be aware of your surroundings. You can be the safest driver but that doesn't mean anything when someone is distracted."

"When the light turns green, always look both ways before going. There's an extremely high chance someone is running a red."

-- BartendingVeteran

Know What You Don't 

"Check your blind spots thoroughly before changing lanes." -- DeathSpiral321

"To add, be aware of other people's blind spots and not drive within them." -- FourStringTap

"And adjust your mirrors correctly!!!"

"I just recently commented this, but I see easily 90% of people using their wing mirrors as rear view mirrors. This causes unnecessarily large blind spots that almost completely disappear if you adjust correctly."

"Put your head against the driver's side window, adjust the mirror so you can barely see the side of your car in it."

"Same thing on the passenger side, but put your head over the center console."

"Now you'll be able to smoothly track a passing car from your rear view, to your side mirror, to your peripheral vision." -- SarinationX

Record, Record, Record

"Take lots of pictures of the damage and of the location of the cars before they were moved. Try and collect witness information to give to your insurance."

"Print out an accident questionnaire form and put it in your glove compartment with a pen."

-- Motthebop

A Few Tips

"Be careful on ice. If there is ice on the roads and you don't HAVE to get out, stay in."

"Always call the cops if more than one car is involved. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS."

"Get a dashcam. In fact, get two. One for front and one for rear."

-- ixamnis

Trauma-Informed Driving 

"Quality of tires is so important. My father in law gifted me a car but had put retreads on it. I was going 70 down the highway when three of the tires blew. I totaled the suv but thankfully walked away without a scratch."

"Also drivers need to be aware that people suffer ptsd after car wrecks. I was terrified to drive on highways for years afterwards."

"Maybe that slow person in front of you is having a really hard time overcoming a wreck they had or were involved in."

-- Boomerangboom

Just in Case 

"Always get your back checked out, even for minor accidents and whether it hurts or not."

"My wife was in a minor fender bender and her back did not show symptoms until weeks later. It took almost a year of chiropractor visits to get it straightened out. Thankfully, the guy who hit her had insurance to cover it."

-- ntcplanters

A Difficult One to Keep in Mind 

"If you start to fishtail DON'T slam on the brakes. As soon as you feel your rear wheels skidding, begin turning the steering wheel in the same direction that the rear wheels are moving."

"So, if the back end of the car is sliding toward the driver's side, turn the steering wheel to the left. The rear is skidding toward the passenger side? Steer right."

"This will help your wheels turn back to the direction you want to travel and help you regain control of your vehicle."

-- mc_squared_03

A Hit and Run With an Errand 

"If you are a pedestrian and you get hit, don't let driver take you to the hospital. Call 911. Always. I was ditched at a hospital with a gash in my forehead and lost hundreds missing work to recover."

"The cops couldn't investigate even with a plate number, so I never saw a penny of insurance."

"Sadly, like myself, you cannot always advocate for yourself when you're concussed. The second you can, call 911. Even if you aren't badly hurt or if they feel bad."

"Don't be nice to someone who hit you with their car."

-- ladyalot

Advocate

"If you feel unsafe in a car tell the driver to stop and get the f*** out of the car. Being stranded in a rainy field miles from anywhere is better than being dead or paralysed." -- swallowyoursadness

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They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIF Giphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIF Giphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIF Giphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!