Getting into a car accident is something nobody wants to experience, and neither is witnessing one happen. But no matter how crazy the circumstances are, people still want to help others that they see in distress. These kinds of situations can be problematic, as even after the accident has happened, you can still make the situation worse if you’re not careful about how you conduct yourself, no matter how good your intentions are.
Here is some helpful, general advice when it comes to helping someone who’s been involved in a car accident.
Assess the Situation
When you come across the scene of an accident and you want to try and help out, the first thing to do is assess whether the victim is still on the road. If they are not, pull your car over to the side. If they are, park your vehicle behind the accident site so that traffic will not impact the accident.
Get out of your car and turn your hazard lights on. Be sure to use any hazard or accident signs you may have as well. These can be purchased at hardware, auto, and grocery stores.
In addition to setting up lights and signs, be careful to assess any other dangers in the surrounding area. Look for broken glass, dislodged car parts, or other hazards, like telephone wires or fallen signs. The last thing you want to do is become part of the accident yourself.
Assess the Victim
Once you have taken a look at the situation, approach the person in need. Upon encountering the victim, try to establish a dialogue with them. Ask them if they’re okay and if they’d like assistance. If they remain unresponsive or don’t seem awake or conscious, do not move their body. Without some sort of medical expertise, doing so can cause additional harm.
Instead of moving the person, check their airway. If they don’t seem to be breathing, perform CPR if you know how. You can take classes and be certified in your local area.
If you see a bleeding wound, apply pressure to it with bandages or clothing. If they are conscious but pale and still unresponsive, they might be in shock. When this happens, vital organs like the brain and heart might not be getting enough blood, so it can help to elevate their legs, but be careful as you do so.
It is absolutely imperative that you get help, no matter if you think they’ve already been contacted or not. Dial 911, calmly tell them where you are and what’s happened, and the situation at hand. Be sure to stay put while you wait for police, medics, and the fire department to arrive at the scene.
If the victim is conscious and talking to you, offer to call 911, as well as any other people they may need, such as family, friends, or even a personal injury lawyer. Whatever they need, do your best to fulfill it, and stay by their side until help arrives.
Helping others is a noble engagement. But keep in mind that all of your efforts, while done out of selflessness, are meant to keep the victim stable until medical authorities arrive. Make sure that nothing you’re doing interferes with them while they’re working, and be sure to keep calm and keep yourself out of danger as well.
This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write about business, finance, and family issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. You can find Dixie on Facebook.