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If You Are First on the Scene of a Car Accident
What would you do if you saw a car accident right in front of you, or you drove around a bend and were the first on the scene of a serious accident? Experts suggest what you should – and should not -- do.
First, stay calm. Then, pull off the road – carefully. Make sure you are fully off the road and parked in a safe way. Turn on your hazard flashers, and exit the car carefully.
Quickly assess the situation: Is anyone injured or trapped in the car? Are there any signs of fire or leaking gas? Are any damaged cars still on the road, where they could cause an accident? What is the location of the accident?
You need this information for your next step: Call 911. Don’t assume that someone already has called. Be prepared to tell the dispatcher everything you know, including the extent of injuries to people, the damage to the car(s) and your location as specifically as possible Answer any questions the dispatcher asks as well as you can.
If other people also have stopped, work with them to set up a barrier around the crash site. For example, position one car in front of the accident and one behind, both with their hazard lights on.
If there are injuries, try to make the injured person or people as comfortable as possible. Except in the direst of circumstances – the car is on fire, for example, or there is arterial bleeding – don’t move the person or try to apply medical care. You could make the injury much worse, and you could leave yourself liable for causing additional injury, depending on the laws of the state. Instead, cover the victims and talk calmly with them, telling them that help is on the way.
If there are vehicles or debris on the road, try to move them to someplace where they will not be a danger to other drivers. But don’t put yourself in danger by, for example, running onto the road to retrieve debris.
Take pictures and notes about the scene. The chances are that you will be questioned by the police. Write down what you remember while it is still fresh in your mind.
Finally, when help has arrived and you are ready to be on your way, be sure you are fit to drive. Witnessing a crash scene can be very traumatic, so be sure you are calm and ready to get back behind the wheel.
At The Bensman Group, your protection is our major concern. If you would like to talk to us about any insurance- or investment-related question, just contact us at 847-572-0820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.