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Witnessing An Accident

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 26 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Accident Witness Casualty Witnessing An

What should you do if you witness a road accident?

Stay Calm

  • The best thing you can do is to avoid panicking.
  • Remember to keep focus. You don't want to be the cause of another accident!
  • Bear in mind that someone who is screaming is probably less injured than someone who is quiet or moaning.

Informing the Emergency Services

  • If you think the accident requires the emergency services, call 999 as quickly as possible or get someone else to.
  • Check on any injured people and let the emergency services know the extent of the injuries. Be sure to stay in the immediate vicinity of the accident, particularly if you made the call from a mobile as the emergency services may be relying on you to let them know the location of the accident.
  • The emergency services will need to know the location of the accident, the number of casualties, the extent of their injuries, potential dangers and whether anyone is trapped inside their vehicle.
  • Remain at the scene until you have spoken to a police officer. Although they may not require an impartial statement immediately, your description could be vital, particularly if you're the sole witness.
  • If you choose not to give a witness account, you can give a witness statement instead. Be aware though that this may involve going to court.
  • All vehicles involved in an accident are required to stop - regardless of who was to blame - so they can exchange details for insurance purposes. This is even more pressing if someone is injured in the accident.
  • If you spot an involved vehicle driving away from the scene, make a note of the registration plate number. The car's make, model and colour are also helpful in helping police to trace a car which should have stopped.

Warn Other Drivers

Use your warning hazard lights to let approaching traffic know about the situation.

Dealing With Casualties

  • Don't attempt to move anyone who is injured unless the emergency services have advised so, but make sure they are reasonably comfortable.
  • Stop the casualty from eating or drinking, especially alcohol as this could hinder medical treatment.
  • Avoid moving an involved vehicle or removing debris from the scene. It's illegal to do so.

First Aid

  • If you (or any other witness) know first aid, you might consider applying it to any casualties before the emergency services arrive.
  • Remember the ABC rule - Airways, Breathing and Circulation.
  • Limit bleeding by applying force to the wound and raising up the injured part as much as is possible.
  • If you suspect there are broken bones, don't even consider to move the casualty.
  • Cover them in a blanket until the emergency services arrive. They need to keep warm, particularly as they're likely to be shocked.
  • With burns, pour cold water over it for twenty minutes or until the pain subsides.

Avoid Smoking

  • Don't be tempted to light up in case of petrol spillage. You could end up causing a far worse accident!

Knowing how to react at an accident scene is vital. Following this advice could help save lives.

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