Over 6 million vehicle accidents happen annually in the US.
This huge number of accidents per year means that at some point, most people will be affected either directly or indirectly by a car accident.
Many people will witness a car accident while going about their day-to-day activities, so it is vital to know what to do if you see a car accident.
So, what should you do after witnessing an accident? Here are the steps to take if you happen to be a car accident witness.
Stay Safe First
If you witness a car accident and you’re driving, pull over to one side of the road about 100 feet away from the scene. Then turn on your hazard lights.
You should allow enough distance between you and the accident scene so you don’t risk your safety by being too close to the leaked fuel, flames, or broken glass.
If two vehicles collided and burst into flames or if someone appears to be hurt, call 911 immediately. Regardless of how severe the crash is, you need to let the authorities know.
Let the 911 operator know that you’ve just witnessed an accident and give them the address. When prompted, provide the operator with any relevant information.
Check Up on the Accident Victims and Seek Help
Unless you’ve got medical training or you know CPR, it’s not advisable to try to help injured victims. Instead, call for an ambulance from 911 and describe the state of the victims.
If they’re conscious, assure them that you’ve summoned medical assistance and it’s on the way. Simply being there and talking to them calmly may help to lower their stress levels.
Help Secure the Scene
If you’ve got an emergency cone or road flares on hand, you should deploy these items on the road to draw the attention of oncoming traffic at the scene.
Just make sure there’s no liquid in the scene before lighting anything. If you’re not sure of the liquids in the scene, don’t light anything as you may cause a fire.
If the victims can’t take photos of the accident, you could help them with that once the scene is secured and they’re stabilized.
Photos taken immediately after an accident may be very useful during investigations by the insurance firm(s).
Give a Statement to the Police
When police arrive at the scene, cooperate with them and provide relevant information as well as your contact information.
Don’t discuss liability with the victims of the accident as there might be serious ramifications. Only talk about the crash to the police.
If you’ve got any relevant information to give to medical professionals, do that as well.
Unless you have experience working in the emergency response field, you are probably not used to seeing traumatic accidents and it can be very upsetting. Make sure you reach out to your support system if you need to talk and get plenty of rest.
If you saw something that was extremely bothersome and you don’t feel you’re able to process it on your own, make sure you seek professional help.
Looking for more information about how to deal with car and motorcycle accidents?
Check out our blog for more information.