How you can help at the scene of a car accident
There may come a time when you are either involved in an accident yourself or you may come across a car accident and wonder what you may be able to do to help at the scene. Even if you don't have any first aid training there still may be things you can do to help ease the situation before the emergency services arrive.
Warning other drivers about the hazard
If you come upon an accident scene you can help by turning on your hazard lights to show other drivers that there is a problem on the road. If you are the first at the scene you could also physically (but safely) walk down the road a little and warn other drivers by waving at other drivers from the side of the road. This will be especially helpful if the scene is obscured in some way from other traffic by a blind bend for example. Always take into account your own safety as well and avoid walking down the middle of the road.
Calling the emergency services
Either call the emergency services yourself or nominate one other person to do so. It will be more helpful to the emergency services if they do not receive multiple calls reporting the same accident, because it may cause confusion and delay their arrival.
When you nominate an individual to make the call, ensure that they are someone who is calm and able to communicate clearly. The emergency services will need a good description of the location and what services you are likely to need and your phone number should you get cut-off unexpectedly. The person taking the call will be trained to get the information they need in the shortest possible time and so there is no need to panic.
How you may be able to help the injured
If you don't have any medical training you can still help the injured just by talking to them and reassuring them that help is on the way. If you are not comfortable around the more serious injuries just focus on the less badly injured, with your aim being to calm the situation down.
It is vitally important that try to prevent the injured from moving around too much and stop others from moving them. Neck injuries in particular are quite common in road accidents, and moving someone with a neck injury can actually cause more serious damage to the nerves in the neck and spinal cord.
If you have any first aid training you will be familiar with the basic steps to help an injured person. If you feel able to do so, try to assess who most needs your help, and advise any other untrained helpers on who they can help and how they can help them.
Those casualties that are unconscious should usually be checked first to check that they are breathing, and if not you could attempt to revive them using the mouth to mouth technique. If someone is bleeding excessively try to stem the flow by compressing the wound. If you do not feel confident in your medical abilities it's probably best just to do what you can to reassure them that help is on the way.
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