Life’s highways are busy. They are often overcrowded and the speed limits seem to be increasing as people rush to and fro. Witnessing a car accident can be a traumatic experience that requires you to stay calm, cool and collective. What you should do depends on how bad the crash is and the extent of the injuries. Here are five tips to help you should you be the on the scene before the authorities.
1. Safety Always Comes First
If there is a car crash in close proximity to you, make sure to pull over to the side of the road. Allow at least 100 feet between your car and the accident scene. If there are issues like gas leaks, broken glass, and flames; you want to make sure you are far enough away. Put on your hazard lights and get a safe distance away.
2. Call for Help
Always call for help first. Many people assume that others have already called 911, but if they have the operator will notify you. The authorities should be called no matter how bad the wreck seems. Let the operator know that you have witnessed the accident and give them as many details as possible. They will dispatch the police, fire trucks, and ambulances as needed.
3. Make Sure Everyone Is Okay
Make sure the scene is safe and go to the victims. Make sure they are okay and if you can be of any assistance try to help. Seeing people trapped in a car or hurt can be a taxing emotionally. Remember that you need to write all this down in a statement so mentally make note of the accident scene and the condition. Never move victims that seem to be hurt, unless there is an imminent danger of the vehicle catching on fire.
4. Stabilize the Vehicle
In the instance of a minor accident, make sure to put the car in park and shut off the ignition. By shutting down the engine, you are reducing the risk of fire. During a crash, oil, gas and coolant often leak out. If you can move the car to the berm of the road, do so. If the car cannot be moved, set up flares to let other drivers know to slow down.
5. Put A Detailed Statement in Writing
Because you were on the scene before the police, you are an eye witness. Give them relevant facts that they can use to see who was at fault and how the crash happened. You will also need to give them your contact information. After the incident is over, you may receive calls from legal, medical or insurance companies. Your statement must be honest, consistent and contain the facts.
Witnessing a car accident can be very upsetting for the ones in the crash and those who witness the events from the sidelines. While leaving and getting on with your day seems like the best option, stay on the scene and give an accurate report of what you witnessed. Never leave your car unless you know that it is absolutely safe to do so. Get your emotions under control and use a clear head to safely assist the victims until emergency personnel arrive on the scene. Your efforts can make all the difference in ensuring everyone is safe, getting professionals on the scene quickly, and making sure the right party is responsible for payment.
Christopher S. is an avid blogger from Tulsa, Oklahoma who is passionate about encouraging safety for all communities while working with the Gorospe & Smith Tulsa Personal Injury Lawyer Firm in his own community to educate and promote safety and accident prevention.