What to do if you come across
a Road Traffic Accident
by Jan Hunter ADI
It may never happen to you, but as a motorist it's quite possible that you might be the first person to arrive at the scene of a road traffic accident. Knowing what to do before the police or ambulance service arrives could help save a life, so here's what to do.
- First, stop your vehicle in a safe place and turn the engine off.
- Now turn on your hazard warning lights to warn other traffic. Be aware that both you and the accident victims are in danger so you should also place a warning triangle 50 metres away from yourvehicle (although note that you are not
allowed to use a warning triangle on a motorway).
- To reduce the risk of fire make sure all cigarettes are put out, and switch off all vehicle ignitions.
- Call the emergency services and give full details of your location and the casualties.
- If you are on a motorway it is best to use the emergency telephones (they are placed at one mile intervals so you will therefore be no further than ½ a mile from a phone.)
- Move uninjured people away from the vehicles to safety. If you are on a motorway you should move away from the car and hard shoulder, and wait as far as possible up a bank if there is one, and behind any crash barriers.
- Do not attempt to move any casualties that may be trapped in vehicles, unless they are in imminent danger; instead talk to them and reassure them. Give
them first aid if you know how. Find out all about first aid here.
- Never try to remove a motorcyclist's helmet, because you could make their injuries much worse - instead leave it for the professionals to do when they arrive.
- You should also try to keep all casualties warm, but do not offer them any food or drink.
Hopefully you'll never need to deal with an accident scene, but it's good to know what to do just in case.
Good luck with your lessons!
Jan Hunter is a co-founder of Pelican School of Motoring, an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor), and has helped teach over 800 people to drive since 1992.
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