During these uncertain times, car accidents seem to be more prevalent in our day-to-day lives. You may know the proper steps to take if you find yourself in a car accident, but do you know what to do if you witness one? According to Psychology Today, the more people who witness a car accident, the less likely anyone is of helping out. Here are a few tips on how to shake off that bystander effect, with the help of Prepared, and possibly help someone in need.
- Take a moment to calm down. Witnessing a car accident can trigger a lot of emotions that may impair your ability to safely help those in need. It is safer to take 10 seconds to evaluate the scenario. Ask yourself; Is it safe for me to enter the area of the accident? Is there a safe space where I can pull over? Will my presence make the situation more dangerous than it already is? If you answer yes to any of these questions, remain in your vehicle and call an emergency service the next time you can safely stop.
- If you have deemed it safe to enter the scene of the accident, call 911 immediately. You cannot assume someone else at the scene has already called. Make your statements to 911 clear and concise. Avoid saying anything other than your location, the number of people involved in the accident, and anything that could prove to be hazardous to first responders. Move anything around the accident that could get in the way of the first responders.
- Assess the severity of the injuries of those involved. This does not mean you should play doctor. In fact, moving someone in critical condition can be more harmful than helpful to the victim. It is only appropriate to remove someone from a crashed vehicle if staying in the vehicle puts them in harm’s way. If they are responsive, ask them if they are hurt and/or if they can exit the car themselves. Remain on the line with 911, and listen to the instructions that they give you above anything else.
- While waiting for the first responders to arrive, take a look around the scene of the accident. Try recording and photographing as much as possible. If the accident is deemed to have been caused by negligent driving, your witness account may help the victim(s) down the line.
- Once the first responders arrive, get out of their way. Ensure nothing else is in the way, and let the professionals do their work.
By following even one of the tips above, you become a better bystander. Seeing or being involved in a car accident is scary, and may require additional legal service after the fact. But know that choosing to stop and help doesn’t only feel rewarding; It could save someone’s life.