Car accidents can be upsetting for both victim and bystander alike. Witnessing a car accident first-hand requires a cool, calm, and collected response under difficult circumstances. Your actions will mainly depend on the severity of the crash and the injuries involved, but there are some general rules you should keep in mind. By following these guidelines, you’ll be in a good position to help your fellow motorists until professional help arrives.
Ensure your own safety first
If you are driving when you spot a car crash, pull over to the side of the road at least 100 feet from the scene and put on your hazard lights. You want to give yourself enough distance so you don’t put yourself in danger.
If the wreck is serious, call 911. Never assume someone else has already done this. Let the 911 operator know you witnessed a car accident, the location, number of people involved, and any other relevant details.
Check on the victims
Once you’ve ensured that it’s safe to do so, check on the condition of the crash victims to make sure they are okay and offer help, if you can. Unless there’s a risk of the vehicle catching fire, do not attempt to move an injured person. Despite your best intentions, you might accidentally make the injury worse. Let the trained medical professionals tend to the injured, but you can provide comfort by reassuring victims that help is on the way.
Provide help with the vehicles (if possible)
If the accident is minor, ask the driver to put the damaged vehicle in “park” and turn off the engine. This will eliminate the risk of fire. If it’s safe to do so, enlist help to move the car out of further harm’s way.
Cooperate with the police
When the police arrive, provide the relevant facts and your contact information. In the days and weeks following the accident, you may be contacted by legal/ medical authorities and insurance claims agents. Be truthful and consistent with your statements.
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