If you’re unfortunate enough to be at the scene of a car crash, there are some essential things you need to do. First of all, stay calm and assess the situation. If anyone is injured or trapped in their vehicle, call emergency services immediately.
If nobody was injured, check for any hazards on-site before moving victims or cars. Take photos with your phone so that police or lawyers can see them later if needed. These could help with investigations and insurance claims.
1. Victim Assessment
Check if someone is injured. If they are, call for professional help. Don’t attempt to move them unless necessary or if you are advised by the emergency operator. If a victim is unconscious, place them into the recovery position and do not let anyone move them unless they are a trained first aider or medical professional.
Keep the person warm with blankets provided by bystanders. However, do not give them any food or drink as this may cause further complications in an already distressing situation.
Do not let anyone leave the scene of an accident unless they have an emergency. If they are not injured, then get them to move their vehicle out of the way of other motorists or at least turn on hazard lights.
Once you made sure that you and everyone else at the scene are safe, contact a car accident lawyer to secure legal representation for the victim.
2. Minimize the Risk of Further Injury or Death
Please make sure the car is turned off and that everyone inside has their seat belts fastened. If people are not conscious, attempt to remove them from a dangerous environment, but do not move anyone who might have a spinal injury.
If necessary, turn on hazard lights so that other motorists are aware that something has happened on the road.
Clear the car of any objects that might be lying around in an unstable fashion, such as unsecured luggage. Unnecessary items should be disposed of safely. For example, place them well away from traffic or over railings (but check where you’re putting things first to ensure you’re not obstructing the emergency services access to an accident scene).
3. Danger! Hazards Around the Vehicle
Please do not smoke in an enclosed area near a vehicle accident unless it’s safe. A fire could break out if you’re near or inside the wreckage, and someone could get seriously injured.
Put out any small fires you see nearby with water or sand, but remember never to use dusters, dry powder extinguishers, or anything that contains carbon tetrachloride when fighting a car fire. Carbon tetrachloride is highly harmful in even small quantities. If it is impossible to extinguish a fire, try to keep any fumes away from people until the emergency services arrive.
Watch out for leaking petrol; this should be reported immediately but handled very carefully. Warn other motorists by placing signs or cones near the vehicle so that they don’t get too close.
4. Take Care of Yourself! Your Safety Comes First
If you’re suffering from shock, don’t worry this is a natural response. Once you feel like you can move, go and sit in your car or a safe place well away from any wreckage. You’re doing the right thing by remaining at the scene and helping others. Learn how you can manage the stress following a car crash.
Always remember to keep yourself as safe as possible; this means remaining calm and doing as little as you can until the emergency services arrive. In many cases, people tend to panic, and by doing so, they have suffered further injuries or made things worse for someone else.
If possible, move your car away from the accident scene to a safe place such as an area out of the way of other motorists, perhaps somewhere nearby. Remember that taking someone back to their car can also be helpful as it gives them a chance to take any personal belongings with them and regain control of their vehicle if necessary.
One Step at a Time
There is a lot to think about when you’re involved in an accident, but your safety should always come first. Try to help others when possible while trying not to put yourself at any unnecessary risk.