Witnessing a car accident can be a stressful experience, and many people may not know how to react. Unfortunately, some may even choose to drive away instead of offering assistance. How you respond can greatly impact those involved in the accident. By following some basic guidelines and remaining calm, you can help someone in need while also ensuring your own safety.
Keep a safe distance
It’s important not to forget your own safety, even when you want to help. If you’re behind the wheel and witness a car accident, pull over to the safe side of the road. Leave enough space for rescue vehicles to enter and for other drivers to pass by safely.
Stopping in the middle of traffic can be dangerous and may only cause more problems. To signal other drivers to stay away, you can turn on your flashers or use emergency triangles to create a boundary.
Meanwhile, if you are a pedestrian, stay on the sidewalk while you call for help. Situations like this can be distracting, and you may be unable to pay attention to your surroundings.
Check on the victims and call 911
Every second counts in an emergency. Visible damage to the car or injured passengers is a clear sign that immediate medical attention is necessary. Even if you are not the first person at the scene, it’s best not to assume that someone else will call 911.
When you call, let the officers know exactly where you are and what is happening. Providing as much detail as possible can help first responders arrive quickly and prepared.
Provide a statement
Your statement could help those involved to determine liability and fault. With your help, a victim could pursue a personal injury suit and receive fair compensation for their damages.
Providing a statement entails detailing what you saw and giving your contact information. While you may choose to remain anonymous, it could put your credibility into question. Witness statements are more effective when they come from a trustworthy source.
Legally, you’re not obligated to stop and stay at the scene of a car accident. However, your actions can make a big difference, especially if someone is hurt or has died. Cooperating with the authorities may help ensure that the situation is handled properly and that those involved receive the support they need.