It is not everyday that you are going to witness a car crash. However, if you are a witness to an accident, what should you do? Here are a few things that you need to be aware of if a crash happens near you.
1) Check The Perimeter And Call For Help
After a bad crash, leaking fuel could become a fire hazard. If you see or smell gasoline, stay away from the car. The first thing that you should do is call 911 for help. Within minutes, a trained crew of firefighters and paramedics will be on the scene.
2) See If Anyone Is Seriously Hurt
If you feel safe approaching the car, check to see if anyone is seriously hurt. Although your first instinct may be to pull an injured person out of his or her car, that could potentially do more harm. Unless you think that an injured person is in immediate danger of being hurt while in the car, do not move the body. That could lead to permanent head and neck injuries. If you see a body outside of one of the wrecked cars, immobilize the victim and start CPR immediately if you are trained to do so and the victim is not breathing.
3) Take Note Of Your Surroundings Before, During And After The Accident
Take note of anything that would be useful to determining why the accident happened. If one of the drivers was stumbling or smelled of booze, it would indicate that the accident was alcohol related. If it is cold outside, icy roads could have played a factor in the crash. These details will be important to remember when you talk to the police. Occasionally, a driver may attempt to flee the scene of a crash. If this happens, do your best to remember the license plate of the car that left the scene or write it down. Getting a picture of the fleeing car with your cell phone is another option that you have.
4) Do Not Touch Anything Of Importance
Unless you are tending to a victim, do not touch or disturb anything at or near the scene of the accident. That could contaminate or destroy evidence that could be used to determine who was at fault for the crash or why it happened. Deliberately moving or destroying evidence at the scene could also make you the target of a lawsuit.
4) Give A Statement To The Authorities
The police will ask you to give a statement. You may also be asked to give your phone number or an email address where you can be contacted. In the event that there are serious injuries, it is possible that you will have to testify in a civil or criminal trial.
Witnessing a car accident can be a traumatic experience if the crash is a violent one. However, it is your duty to make sure that you provide accurate and good information to the police. Anyone who has CPR training or any other first response credentials should attempt to help victims of the crash if possible. It could be the difference between life or death for that person.