What Should You Do When You Witness a Car Accident?

It can be extremely nerve-wracking and traumatic when you witness a car accident. Even if you aren’t involved in the accident itself, seeing the carnage and injuries can be something that we never forget. In the moment, we may freeze up, simply looking at the carnage in front of us.
Important: depending on your local legislation, you may be legally bound to provide some sort of help, as long as the circumstances allow. Failure to do so may result in potential prosecution, fines or even imprisonment.
Now, even though you might find yourself in situations where you are not legally obligated to intervene in person, it doesn’t mean that you should just look away and move on with your life. On the contrary, there are several things that you should do once you witness a car accident. By taking action and following this advice, you will certainly help make a terrible situation better. In fact, you may even save a life.

What To Do After Witnessing a Car Accident

Calling Emergency Services Is Essential

One of the first things that you should do after you witness a car accident is to call emergency services. The reasons are clear. Immediately contacting the authorities after you see an accident can ensure that medical help arrives as soon as possible. Even if you are a trained medical professional, you will want to make the call. Every second is vital for those seriously injured in the crash. Waiting even just a few minutes can make the difference between life and death.

witness a car accidentAfter you witness a car accident, quickly contacting the authorities can ensure that medical help arrives as soon as possible.

The person who makes the call is less important. It can be you or someone else who is traveling with you. Whoever makes that call, however, should provide as much detail as possible. Share your precise location and describe the scene. Answer all of the dispatcher’s questions and make sure that your car is in park when making the call. By making the call first thing, you are ensuring that professional help is arriving as quickly as possible.

Witnessed A Car Accident? Safety First!

From calling emergency services, you will next want to see if you can help. It’s important to be cautious here. First and foremost, you want to protect yourself. You can’t help those injured in the crash if you are going to be injured yourself.

But if you feel personally safe, go ahead and see if you can help the accident victims. Check and see if everyone is okay. Volunteer to lend your phone so that accident victims can call loved ones or their insurance companies. If you see that an accident victim is in serious pain, try to comfort the victim. That said, be extremely cautious about moving the victim. Often, you will want to keep the victim in place, as moving him or her can make serious injuries even worse. If the vehicle is on fire or there are other extremely dangerous hazards around the victim, however, you will need to make a judgment call.

witness a car accidentIf you witness a car accident,  checking if everyone is okay is one of the things you can do to help.

Check Your Dashcam Footage Of The Witnessed Accident

Next, consider providing the dashcam footage from your vehicle. This can be a valuable source of information for accident victims and the police. Essentially, dashcam footage provides an objective look at the crash, which can be used as evidence to determine which driver was at fault. Instead of getting into a “he said, she said” line of argument after the accident, your footage can easily apportion fault.

 
The police who came later to the site of the accident above received BlackVue footage as evidence
and were impressed by both the image quality and instant accessibility to the footage.

Ultimately, this is one reason why owning a dashcam is so valuable. There are plenty of quality dashcams that can get the job done. For instance, BlackVue manufactures a number of stellar dashcams (most notably, its flagship 4K UHD model). With a dashcam, you know that anything and everything that is occurring in front and rear of your car is being recorded continuously. In the event of an accident, all you have to do is download the footage to your phone to quickly help yourself…and others who might need it.  
Finally, take care of yourself. This can be easy to forget. Witnessing an auto accident—especially an extremely damaging one—can be traumatic. If you are feeling trauma or anxiety after the accident, share your feelings with your loved ones. If you are still experiencing trauma after several days, think about speaking with a professional counselor. He or she can be a trusted resource in the days after the crash.

Adding Value in the Worst Moments

Auto accidents, unfortunately, occur all too often. And even though our vehicles are safer, auto accidents can result in some serious physical and mental injuries. It can be traumatic—for those involved in the accident and witnesses to the accident. By following the tips and strategies above, however, you can add real value in the aftermath of an accident. Tread carefully and stay safe.
 
Thumbnail image credit: Designed by macrovector / Freepik.

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