What to do if you see an Accident
You Could Help Save a Life
If you’ve ever witnessed a vehicle accident, you know how scary and stressful it can be. And that’s just as a bystander. Imagine what it must feel like for those who were involved. Rather than feeling bad and stressing out about what you saw, do what you can to help instead. Not necessarily help the victims because if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could make things worse and aggravate their injuries. You can help prevent even worse things from happening, though. And not just for those who were already involved in the accident, but also for others on the road.
Here are a few guidelines that can help you carry out proper actions in any kind of car crash situation.
Ensure your safety
If you see an accident, never rush onto the scene. Instead, try to remain calm, slow down, park your vehicle at a safe spot, and turn on your hazard lights to alert first responders and other oncoming drivers. A good rule of thumb is to park at least a hundred feet away from the accident. If you park too close, you might be endangering yourself from broken glass, leaking fuel, flames or worse, a big explosion. And then you might become one of the victims too.
Check on the victims
If you’re sure that it’s safe to approach the scene, cautiously check to see if anybody is injured, and how severe their injuries are. Unless you’re trained to provide medical care, don’t try to render assistance yourself. At this point, the best thing you can do is reassure the victims that help is coming.
Don’t ever assume that someone else already called 911. It’s better to have the accident reported more than once instead of assuming that someone already reported it when no one actually did. The authorities have to be notified, regardless if the crash seems severe or not. Be prepared to inform the 911 operator pertinent details regarding the accident including the exact location, the number of vehicles involved, the number of people involved, how many are injured and how bad the injuries are.
Stabilize the vehicles
To help minimize the risk of fire, ask the drivers to turn off their ignition and put the vehicle in park (if possible). If you’re sure it’s safe, ask the drivers or seek help to move the vehicles off the road. If this isn’t feasible, use flares or warning devices to alert oncoming traffic of the accident.
Help out where you can
While it is not advisable to provide direct assistance or first aid to victims, you should also know how to gauge if simply standing by and waiting for help to arrive will be counterproductive or not. For instance, if there are unconscious victims inside a burning vehicle, you might be more helpful by pulling them out instead of just watching them burn. That’s probably one of those exceptional cases when you’re allowed to move victims. Otherwise, you can just help make them feel as comfortable as possible without moving them as this can easily turn a minor injury into a more serious one.
Give your statement
Describe the accident as you witnessed it and stick to facts. Provide your name and contact information, and expect to be contacted by the authorities in the days or weeks following the accident. It might help if you write down the details of what you saw because this will ensure you do not forget or mix up the details later on when you are called on as a witness.
Big Sky Collision Center says to be Safe!
Here at Big Sky Collision, we want no crashes! But we are fully aware that it’s always going to happen. If you’re able to assist in an accident, and possibly help save a life, then we commend you. If the accident isn’t too severe, then letting them know that we provide outstanding auto body repair in Billings is welcome ;-).