What to do if you see an Accident

You Could Help Save a Life

If you’ve ever witnessed a vehicle accident, you know how scary and stressful it can be. And that’s just as a bystander. Imagine what it must feel like for those who were involved. Rather than feeling bad and stressing out about what you saw, do what you can to help instead. Not necessarily help the victims because if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could make things worse and aggravate their injuries. You can help prevent even worse things from happening, though. And not just for those who were already involved in the accident, but also for others on the road.

Best auto body repair shop after an accident in Billings

Here are a few guidelines that can help you carry out proper actions in any kind of car crash situation.


Ensure your safety

If you see an accident, never rush onto the scene. Instead, try to remain calm, slow down, park your vehicle at a safe spot, and turn on your hazard lights to alert first responders and other oncoming drivers. A good rule of thumb is to park at least a hundred feet away from the accident. If you park too close, you might be endangering yourself from broken glass, leaking fuel, flames or worse, a big explosion. And then you might become one of the victims too.


Check on the victims

If you’re sure that it’s safe to approach the scene, cautiously check to see if anybody is injured, and how severe their injuries are. Unless you’re trained to provide medical care, don’t try to render assistance yourself. At this point, the best thing you can do is reassure the victims that help is coming.


Call 911

collision repair shop in Billings

Don’t ever assume that someone else already called 911. It’s better to have the accident reported more than once instead of assuming that someone already reported it when no one actually did. The authorities have to be notified, regardless if the crash seems severe or not. Be prepared to inform the 911 operator pertinent details regarding the accident including the exact location, the number of vehicles involved, the number of people involved, how many are injured and how bad the injuries are.

Stabilize the vehicles

To help minimize the risk of fire, ask the drivers to turn off their ignition and put the vehicle in park (if possible). If you’re sure it’s safe, ask the drivers or seek help to move the vehicles off the road. If this isn’t feasible, use flares or warning devices to alert oncoming traffic of the accident.


Help out where you can

While it is not advisable to provide direct assistance or first aid to victims, you should also know how to gauge if simply standing by and waiting for help to arrive will be counterproductive or not. For instance, if there are unconscious victims inside a burning vehicle, you might be more helpful by pulling them out instead of just watching them burn. That’s probably one of those exceptional cases when you’re allowed to move victims. Otherwise, you can just help make them feel as comfortable as possible without moving them as this can easily turn a minor injury into a more serious one.


Give your statement

Describe the accident as you witnessed it and stick to facts. Provide your name and contact information, and expect to be contacted by the authorities in the days or weeks following the accident. It might help if you write down the details of what you saw because this will ensure you do not forget or mix up the details later on when you are called on as a witness.

accident repair in Billings

Big Sky Collision Center says to be Safe!

Here at Big Sky Collision, we want no crashes! But we are fully aware that it’s always going to happen. If you’re able to assist in an accident, and possibly help save a life, then we commend you. If the accident isn’t too severe, then letting them know that we provide outstanding auto body repair in Billings is welcome ;-).

5 Safe Driving Apps

Keep Yourself, and Your Family Safe with these Driving Apps

Distracted driving has been causing an increasing number of accidents, and sadly, there aren’t any clear signs that the trend is slowing down. Distraction can be visual (driver looks at something other than the road); auditory (driver listens to non-driving related sounds); manual (driver takes hand off steering wheel to do something else); and cognitive (driver thinks about something else other than driving).

Usually, a distraction involves more than one type. And in the case of cell phone use, the distraction involves all four types, which is why it has now become the most common cause of distracted driving.

5 safe driving apps from the best auto body shop in Billings

Of course, there’s one simple cure to prevent cell phone-related distracted driving incidents. Just turn off your phone and don’t use it while you’re driving. If that’s not possible, though, at least make use of your phone the right way by turning it from something that distracts to something that helps you from getting distracted. How? Through these 5 great driving apps.

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What to Do if Your Vehicle Breaks Down

Stay Safe During Road Trip Season

It happens to the best of us.  We are rolling along, singing our favorite driving song, and suddenly there’s a clunk, a sputter, or a grinding noise.  The car has broken down.  You know enough to move it to the side of the road to get out of the way of traffic, but is there more that should be done?

Handle a break down

Big Sky Collision Center wants to make sure you’re enjoying your vehicle.  That doesn’t happen when it’s broken on the side of the road!  But getting it back into working order as soon as possible, and as safely as possible, can have you feeling good about it again.  Here are 4 tips to know now, so you are safe later.
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Three Road Trips You Must Take this Summer

Summer is Road Trip Time: Here are Easy Ones with the Family

The winter was long.  The roads were snowy.  Most of us didn’t go anywhere.  But now that things have cleared up a bit, the summer is looking much more promising.  Sure it’s still cold(ish), and the rain has been a bit heavier this year than usual.  But that won’t last long.  Soon spring will come out in full force, the sun will shine, and the days will warm in to the 70’s and 80’s.

Best auto body shop in Billings gives you three places you must see

When summer hits, millions of Americans around the country will hit the highway.  They will set off on the proverbial road trip.  While some will travel across the country, we here in Montana don’t have to go that far.  Instead, let’s stay close by and see the sights that we probably have not yet seen.  As the best auto body repair shop in Billings, we have narrowed it down to 3 great places that you can spend some time with the family this summer.
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Prevent an Accident by Adjusting your Attitude

Road Rage is a Leading Causes of Accidents

Because the number of roads can’t keep up with the increasing number of cars, the incidence of road rage is becoming more rampant than ever. As congested roads leave drivers feeling cramped and helpless, emotions tend to heat up and behavior becomes offensive rather than defensive.

Prevent an accident without road rage

But there’s nothing we can do about the traffic, the road conditions, or even the behavior of other drivers and that means the thing we can do so we don’t contribute to all that negativity on roads and highways is to adjust our own attitude. You might think it won’t amount to much, but if everyone does it, then driving conditions would improve in a hurry. And in spite of traffic, maybe driving will not be as stressful or unsafe.

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Tips for Driving with Dogs

Travel Season Approacheth, Mind Your Puppies

If you have a pet, going on vacation generally implies that you’ll be taking your pet along because it really won’t feel complete if you leave your furry friend behind, right? Before you get going, however, there are a few things you need to take care of to ensure that your trip will be safe, fun and enjoyable.

Auto body repair in Billings Montana

Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we are all about you enjoying your vehicle. Be safe by following these tips from the best auto body repair shop in Billings.

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Drive Safe in the Parking Lot

Parking Lot Safety Begins with You

Driving within a parking lot should be simple enough because there are fewer moving cars and not as many traffic rules to worry about. Besides, cars go slowly once inside.

Safety Tips in a Parking Lot

On the other hand, it might be this complacence that is making parking lots more dangerous than they should be. Add to that the fact that parking lots are one of the few places where pedestrians and drivers share the same section of the asphalt, and when either becomes careless, an accident becomes more likely.
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Ready to Travel for the Holidays?

Follow These Holiday Travel Tips from Big Sky Collision Center

The holiday season is fast approaching. Which means everyone is probably starting to work on their travel plans. And more people will be hitting the road to go to their respective travel destinations soon.


If you have trips planned, keep these tips in mind to ensure that your holiday travel (or travels) will be safe, pleasant, and memorable.


Before the trip…

Prepare your car

Have your car checked and serviced by a professional to ensure that everything is working properly. You wouldn’t want to risk ruining your vacation by having your car break down on the way to your destination, keeping you from starting your vacation at all.

christmas-vacationPrepare yourself

Prepare everything you need for your trip, which includes yourself. Driving can be tiresome so be sure to get a good night’s rest before your departure. Make sure also that you know the directions to where you’re going, as well as the expected traffic and driving conditions. If you have uncertainties about your routes, the best time to ask for directions is before leaving, and not during the drive. You might want to bring a map too so in case your GPS fails, you won’t have to be stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Prepare your home

The excitement of going on vacation can be overwhelming. But don’t get so excited that you forget to properly secure your home before leaving. If you have timers for your lights, set them to turn on and off at specific hours to give the impression that someone’s home. It’s also a good idea to ask a neighbor to check on your house from time to time, especially if you’re going to be away for a number of days. And remember that it’s not advisable to let everyone know you’re going away, especially not on social media sites.


During the drive…

Focus on driving

Follow all traffic rules. This shouldn’t even have to be said because it’s one of the primary rules when driving. Drive defensively. Watch your speed. Don’t tailgate. Make turns carefully. And avoid distracted driving at all costs. That means put your cell phone down and just drive. But if you absolutely have to answer that call or send that text, ask someone else in the car to do it for you, or pull over at a safe stop before doing so.

tired-drivingRest when you need to

Don’t force yourself to continue driving when you get tired or sleepy. Either ask someone else to drive first or if there’s no substitute driver, just make occasional stops so you can rest and recover.

Stay calm

Sure, the holidays can be stressful. And driving for long hours can make one cranky too. But that’s no excuse to become aggressive or unreasonable on the road. Instead of giving in to your stress, anxiety, frustration or irritation, remember to take deep breaths to keep yourself in check, stay away from accidents or unpleasant incidents, and keep your loved ones safe.


Upon reaching your destination…

You made it safely. Relax and enjoy your vacation. You deserve nothing less.


Big Sky Collision Center wants No Crashes

We understand that accidents happen. We are in the business of restoring your vehicle to factory safety standards if they do. But we wouldn’t wish an accident on anyone! Our goal is to have an accident free holiday season. Take the extra time to ensure that you arrive safely.

Before your trip, make sure your vehicle is nice and clean! A clean car is a safe car, and we provide auto detailing services to the Billings community. Give us a call at 406-259-6328 for more details or to schedule an appointment.

Driving Habits to Start Early

New Drivers Pay Attention!

You just got your license. Now what? Aside from rejoicing in the feeling of having passed your driver ed test and knowing that you can now drive on your own, it’s also best that you stay grounded and take this information to heart: The leading cause for teen deaths is car crashes. Scary, right? The good news is that becoming part of that statistic is easily avoidable.


First and foremost, you should always obey all traffic rules. And as a new driver, make extra effort to follow these tips so you can safely enjoy your newfound freedom on the road:


Get to know your car.

Don’t just get in and drive. Know your car and what it can do so you too will know what to do while you’re in it. Find out what those switches and buttons are for. Find out what those dashboard warning lights mean. Don’t take anything for granted. Sometimes, not knowing how to turn something on or off can mean the difference between life and death.

Wear your seatbelt.

It can’t be emphasized enough. Seatbelts save lives. So never ever drive off without putting your seatbelt on first. And if you happen to have passengers, make sure they have their seatbelts on too.


Stay in your lane.

Being in a hurry is not an excuse to switch from one lane to another. Even if your intention isn’t to cut someone else off, changing lanes unnecessarily might cause an accident, especially if you happen to cut off a driver who isn’t paying attention or is going too fast.

Be extra mindful about blind spots.

We’re not just referring to your own blind spot. Make it a point to be aware of other drivers’ blind spots too. And stay out of those blind spots. Even if you are cautious enough to always check your blind spot when turning, it’s unrealistic to think that other drivers do so too all the time. So if you notice that you’re in someone else’s blind spot, speed up to pull ahead, or slow down. Either way, you’ll be able to get out of the other driver’s blind spot, and be visible again through the mirrors or his or her direct line of sight.

Don’t tailgate.

Majority of collisions happen because of drivers who just can’t stop were following too closely behind. If only everyone will have the good sense to keep at least 2 car lengths between themselves and the driver ahead, there won’t be as many rear-ending incidents and accidents. So as a new driver, try to put this into practice early on so that it will eventually become a habit.

Don’t be a showoff.

There’s a certain sense of pride that comes with driving your own car. And when you’re a teenager, the temptation to impress might get too hard to resist, more so when friends are riding in the car with you. If you have the tendency to become bold and daring when you have an audience, do yourself a favor and refrain from bringing your friends as passengers. Speeding up and blatantly disobeying traffic laws to pass off as a daredevil driver is never a good idea.

Put your phone down.

Distracted driving is dangerous. And the biggest distraction when driving happens to be cellphones. Especially when it comes to teenagers. Majority of the states actually have a law that bans novice drivers from using any kind of cellphone. That means no handheld or handsfree phone when driving. And definitely no texting. If you have to take a call or send a text, don’t do so until you find a safe spot to pull over and make a complete stop.

Texting and Driving


Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on driving.

It’s the best advice for any driver.


Big Sky Collision Center Repairs Cars

But we would rather have no cars to repair than see some of the devastating wrecks new drivers (and experience ones too!) have been involved in. Pay close attention so that you avoid becoming a statistic.

Remember, if you are involved in a wreck, call us at 406-259-6328 to schedule a time at the best auto body repair shop in Billings.

Halloween Driving Tips

No Crashes this Halloween Season!

According to both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Halloween is one of the three deadliest days for pedestrians. And it’s not hard to understand why. During Halloween, kids everywhere take to the streets for their annual trick-or-treat activity. And when there are plenty of kids, there’s always the tendency for unforeseen circumstances, particularly because kids have unpredictable behavior.

Halloween Driving Tips

To make this year’s Halloween safer for everyone, here are a few helpful driving tips from your local collision center in Billings.


Stay Safe this Halloween

  • Drive slowly in residential neighborhoods, and try to stay closer to the middle of the street. Whatever the speed limit is, you’ll be better off driving slower than what’s allowed so you’ll have plenty of time to react when a child or a group of children suddenly decide to cross the street from out of nowhere. At a slower speed, it will be easier to avoid a collision. And in case it’s totally unavoidable, the impact will be significantly less severe compared to hitting someone while driving at a faster rate.
  • Turn your headlights on so you’ll be more visible to pedestrians, and kids in costumes (especially dark costumes which many will surely be dressed in) will be more visible to you. It’s also a smart idea to make your car stand out by using a blinking LED on your mirror, or putting a bright Jack-O-Lantern on your dashboard (take it down when outside residential areas, and make sure it doesn’t block your view). This serves a dual purpose of letting your car become more visible to everyone in general, and to your kid in particular so he/she will know it’s your car and will not likely make the mistake of getting into the wrong car or worse, a stranger’s car.
  • Halloween CarBe extra careful when entering and getting out of driveways. Make sure no one’s on your path, particularly small kids who are so easy to miss in the dark.
  • Scan the area continuously. Pay extra attention to intersections, curbs, crosswalks and side streets. Like we said, kids are naturally unpredictable. Combined with their excitement for going trick or treating, it’s not surprising to see them running around without any care in the world except how to get more candy. If you see any kind of movement, anticipate that it may be a kid, and react accordingly.
  • If you’re dropping off trick-or-treaters, make sure they’re safe the whole time, starting from the time they enter the car, while they’re in the car (buckled in/wearing a seatbelt), and when they get out of the car. Don’t pull over unless you’re sure the spot is safe, with no danger of anyone being run over because it’s too dark to see or there’s unavoidable traffic. And don’t forget to turn on your hazard lights so other motorists will be alerted of your parked car.
  • Don’t use your mobile phone or any other electronic device while driving. In our current setting, this is has now become one of the most important driving safety tips. Distracted driving is dangerous in itself. And it’s doubly dangerous during Halloween. If you have to answer a call or check a text message, pull over before doing so. Seriously though, it’s 2016, we shouldn’t have texting and driving anymore.
  • Don’t indiscriminately pass vehicles that are stopped. Observe first and make sure there aren’t any children being dropped off from the vehicle to avoid hitting anyone.
  • When you see children in the middle of the road, just stop and yield. They’re kids so they’re not really expected to stop when they see a car. All they’re thinking about right now is candy and lots more candy. So avoiding a mishap will be entirely up to you.


Big Sky Collision Center says, “Be Safe!”

The best way to avoid hitting a child is to simply not drive on Halloween. If it can be avoided, don’t get in your car and walk where you need to go (pay extra attention so you aren’t hit!). As usual, if you need auto body work, or just a car detailing, bring it to the best auto body shop in Billings!

Enjoy this year’s Halloween and stay safe everyone!