Being caught up in a road accident, either as a bystander or participant is always a stressful time, and for many of us, all rational thought processes leave us – rather than understanding the situation, we’ll sit there in shock until the emergency services arrive. While you do need to have medical training to take proper care of some bodily damages, there are some things that you could do before medics get there.
Before emergency services arrive
Not every motorist carries a first aid kit, but in all honesty, unless you’re a trained medical professional, you should leave any medical injuries alone. If there is no significant danger to life, take care of the victim’s comfort in the circumstances – otherwise, whilst you may think you’re helping, you could actually be making things worse.
However, when taking part in a car accident, there is plenty of other practical things you could be doing; the first thing you should be thinking of is assessment: how many people or vehicles are involved, is there immediate danger from other traffic or even just a location to tell the emergency services?
Has anyone called the emergency services? (Call them anyway – you’ll reach them at 112 OR 999) Can the traffic be safely stopped? You should always think of road safety to prevent the situation from getting worse.
If there are no injuries, the very minimum that should happen is the recording and swapping of details such as addresses, insurance, registration details, type of car, even the number of occupants – it’s harsh, but the reality is that car insurance fraud is a £1.3 billion industry.
Keep calm and record details
The most important thing to remember is to stay calm, even if that takes a few minutes of breathing exercises to achieve it. Never try and move an injured person unless there is risk to life, and try to give as many accurate details as possible if you’re calling the emergency services – your information could just help to save someone’s life.
There is no difference in calling 112 or 999 – you’ll get through to the same system and operators.
It may also be worth ensuring that your smartphone is up-to date with your personal information as this can be used to identify you and any medical problems you may have if you’re unconscious.
Do you know what to do in a car accident? Take our quick quiz!
Choose the best options for each situation (sometimes more than one answer is correct) and check how you did.
1. If you’re the first on the scene of a car accident, you should:
a) Try to squeeze your car through the scene and leave
b) Stop to assist – someone could be seriously injured
c) Call the emergency services (112 or 999) giving as much detail as possible
d) Assume nothing and work out a plan of action
2. The police want a statement, you should:
a) Give as many details as possible, even jot down notes if needed
b) Openly offer your details – this could be important to determine what happened
c) No way José, your details are private
d) Arrange to talk to an officer at a time more convenient to you
3. You think you’ve found an important piece of evidence, you should:
a) Take photographs (if possible) of the location
b) Hoof it into the undergrowth – what the eye doesn’t see…
c) Inform the emergency services at the scene
d) Contact the police at a later date
4. You see one of the drivers run away from the scene, you should:
a) Wish him the best of luck and say nothing
b) Give chase, giving running commentary on your mobile phone
c) Make a note of which way he was heading
d) Inform the emergency services at the scene
5. You’re involved in the accident, you should:
a) Try and make haste away from the accident
b) Swap details with other drivers – insurance, address, vehicle details
c) Give the other drivers your phone number
d) Be responsible and try and combine all of the above
1) B,C 2) A 3) C 4) C,D 5) B
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