Witnessing a car accident can be a frightening experience. Whether you are a fellow driver on the road or a bystander, the sudden wreck of other vehicles can shake you to a halt. If you do end up witnessing a serious road accident, there are things you can do to help those affected receive prompt medical attention and, if later legal action is needed, be a reliable witness. See below for the steps you should take after witnessing a car accident.
Whether you are a pedestrian or a motorist, a car accident should be enough to give you pause. If you are in a car, put your hazards on and safely pull over at your next opportunity. If you are a pedestrian, keep a safe distance from of the wreck—there could be a risk of fire.
Some people will advise you to approach the vehicle and check for injuries before dialing 911, but this is ill-advised. There could be fire or the risk of further combustion. Instead, call 911 and give them your location and any other information you can from your view of the crash.
Do Not Attempt to Treat Victims
If you can tell that people have been seriously hurt, it is still advised that you do not attempt to treat them or remove them from the vehicle. They could be suffering significant internal injuries and moving them could do further damage. In almost all situations, it is more important to wait for emergency personnel to arrive at the scene.
Speak to Police
When police arrive at the scene, they will want to know how and when the accident occurred. Because those involved in the crash may not be able to comment, the testimony you give could be crucial. Be as calm and clear as possible in your retelling of events.
Be Prepared to Recall the Accident
In the event that accident was the fault of one of the involved motorists, you may be contacted later by an insurance company or an attorney about the circumstances of the accident. Following the crash, take whatever steps you need to keep the details of your account fresh. You can write your account down, or record it on your phone—anything that will help you recall details that could be crucial in recovering victims the relief they deserve.