You’ve Just Witnessed an Auto Collision, What Now?
January 24th, 2017 by Eli P
Witnessing an auto collision can be a stressful experience. However, if you’re the first person on the scene, taking appropriate action can help save lives and prevent further injury to those involved in the accident as well as other drivers on the road.
How you respond to an auto collision can vary depending on the location, severity of the crash, and the extent of the injuries, if any. The following guidelines will help you take appropriate actions in any auto collision situation.
Stay calm and get to a safe location.
Slow down and pull your vehicle to the side of the road, at least 100 feet away from the accident if possible. Turn on your emergency flashers to alert first responders and other drivers.
Check for injuries.
If it’s safe to approach the vehicles involved in the collision, look to see if anyone is injured, and if so, the extent of their injuries. At this point, don’t try to render assistance; just determine the number of people injured.
It the collision involves a minor fender bender, let those involved report it to the authorities. If it involves major damage and/or injuries, call 911 right away. Be prepared to provide the location, number of vehicles involved, how many people are injured, and how badly.
Stabilize the vehicles.
To reduce the risk of fire, ask the drivers to turn off their engines and put their cars in “park”. If it’s safe to do so, help the drivers move their cars off the road. Otherwise, use flares or traffic triangles to alert other drivers approaching the scene of the accident.
Provide comfort and assistance.
Wait for first responders to arrive and provide first aid to the injured. During this time, you can provide comfort by letting victims know that help will arrive soon. Never move injured victims unless they are in a burning vehicle or some other form of danger, as this could make their injuries worse.
Give a statement to police or highway patrol officers.
Describe the accident as you saw it, being as objective as possible. Provide your contact information so officials can get in touch with you later if needed.
If you witness a hit and run accident, do not follow and try to confront the driver who fled the scene. Instead, try to get the license number of the vehicle and immediately call 911.
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