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Check the Scene

There could be several dangerous hazards involved at the scene of a traffic accident and these can include lots of broken glass, fluid leaking from the car and also the possibility of traffic travelling in the opposite direction towards you and the injured parties.
So first of all, make sure you are safe. The last thing you want to do is add yourself to the list of casualties.
If you're driving when you see the accident, park up your car safely - don't use your car as a roadblock - and turn off your engine before getting out of the car.
If you were the first on the scene you should call the emergency services, and if others were there before you, check that this has been done.
If you are a smoker, also make sure that you are not holding a lit cigarette, and if you are, extinguish it inside the car as there could be leaking petrol or other flammable materials around the site of the accident.
If you need to flag down cars heading towards you, or need to slow them down to alert them to the incident, then signal to them from the pavement and get their attention that way.

The Basics

Check the victims for injuries. DO NOT move them.
Speak to the injured parties. Say 'Hello' and tell them your name. If there is no visible response, tap them lightly and see if they respond to that.
Check the person's airway so you can make sure they are able to breathe. To do this, you put your hand lightly across their forehead and tilt their head backwards gently. Lift up their chin with 2 fingers and put your cheek in front of their mouth to see if they are breathing. You can look at their chest for movement at the same time.
If they are not breathing at all or are breathing in an unusual way, you will need to start CPR or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. If you haven't got experience of doing this, then first ask if anyone can give CPR and if they can, stay nearby to assist them.
Look for any bleeding injuries. Bleeding is a major cause of shock so you should stem the flow wherever possible. Grab some clean cloth and press gently on the wound. If the person is conscious, then you should ask them to hold the cloth against their injury, this helps them to focus and can help someone who is in shock calm down.
Shock can be a real problem after any accident. There is a little saying to remember 'If the face is pale, raise the tail'. This means that if someone is very pale then they have probably gone into shock. To help them, you should loosen tight clothing and put a blanket or coats over them to keep them warm then raise their legs up

The Recovery Position

If a casualty is unconcious, and it is safe to do so, place them into the recovery position to keep their airways clear and open. To do this follow the steps below.

Kneel on the floor to one side of the person.
Place the person's arm that is nearest you at a right angle to their body, so it is bent at the elbow with the hand pointing upwards. This will keep it out of the way when you roll them over.
Gently pick up their other hand with your palm against theirs (palm to palm). Now place the back of their hand onto their opposite cheek (for example, against their left cheek if it is their right hand). Keep your hand there to guide and support their head as you roll them.
Now use your other arm to reach across to the person's knee that is furthest from you, and pull it up so that their leg is bent and their foot is flat on the floor.
Now, with your hand still on the person's knee, pull their knee towards you so they roll over onto their side, facing you. The person's body weight should help them to roll over quite easily.
Move the bent leg that is nearest to you, away from their body so that it is resting on the floor (bent at a right angle to their body).
Lastly gently raise their chin to tilt their head back slightly, as this will open up their airway and help them to breathe. Check that nothing is blocking their airway. If there is an obstruction, remove this if you can do so safely. Stay with them, giving reassurance, until the emergency services arrive.

Emergency Services

Hopefully the emergency services will have been called before you started to check out the victim(s). It's always best if someone else can do this rather than the person carrying out first aid, as the emergency services will want to keep the caller on the phone to advise and take directions.

When calling, you need to provide the following information:

Where the accident took place
What happened
How many people are injured
If there are any people not breathing
If there are bleeds
Any other information they ask for.

Most of all remember that by keeping a clear head and staying calm you really can be the difference between life and death for someone who has been injured in a road accident.
After the Accident

If you are asked to be a witness to an accident then you should do the following:

Make Notes - Write down a detailed account of what you saw as soon as you can. Although you may not have been directly involved in the accident you may still be suffering from a type of stress which can affect your memory, and may lead to you having an altered recollection of what happened. This is why it is so important to write down what you saw so that you can refer to it later.
Keep your evidence safe - It may also be some time before the case is called to court or settlement hearings take place.
Make sure your evidence is yours and don't be bullied - Regardless of what you tell the people involved in the accident at the time, they should make their own written accounts and take photographs/make sketches so that these can be compared with any witnesses called. Do not be pressured into saying anything that you don't agree with and don't be pushed into saying anything regarding who is at fault unless you are comfortable doing so.

Do I Need to Stop My Car After an Accident?

If you are involved in a road traffic incident and any of the following points are applicable, you need to stop, regardless of whether or not the accident was your fault.

anyone is injured (other than you)
someone else's property or another vehicle is damaged
an animal on the road or in another vehicle is injured
part of the road furniture (street lamps, bollards, road signs) is damaged

If you need to stop, you must stay with the vehicle until anyone involved in the accident has had the chance to ask you for your contact information and/or insurance details.

If you are asked for your information by anyone involved in the incident (e.g. injured person, owner of a dog injured in the bump, a police officer or witness) then you must supply your name and address, your registration number and if the car you are driving isn't yours, the details of the registered vehicle owner.

© has compiled this information to be used for educational purposes only