Assisting at a car crash

What to do if you come across a serious car crash

The following information has been prepared by our experienced team and it might just help you if you are first on scene at a serious car crash.

Arriving at a car crash can be extremely confronting especially if there are serious injuries.

Firstly, assess the scene at any crash you happen upon and avoid panic reactions.

Do not just park your car and blindly run into the scene. This can often result in you being injured adding to the workload for emergency services.

Choose a safe location to stop.

Stay calm and make sure any passengers/children with you are safe before you exit the vehicle.

If you are the first car to arrive you may need to block other traffic, you could use your car or direct another person in your vehicle to stop traffic. If you have safety triangles these can be used to help warn other drivers of the crash.

If you plan to use your car, ensure you hazard lights are on and you angle the car in such a way it is obvious you have stopped for a reason. Your car is acting as a safety barrier here, it will give you a safe area to work, never assume its fool proof and give yourself as much space as possible.

Upon arrival assess the area.

Remember your DRSABCD, check for danger, is it safe for you to approach? Is it safe for you to stop? Are you required?

Check for fire hazards before approaching. If you have a fire extinguisher, have it with you and isolate the vehicles on arrival (remove the keys).

In the case of multiple injures you will be required to triage the victims (decide who to treat first).

Check for any possible casualties that might be walking around or that may have been ejected from a vehicle.

If a casualty is walking around – get them to sit down or lie down in a safe location until they can be checked over by a medical professional. People can go into shock so often a blanket or coat can help keep them warm.

PDA recommends all drivers of vehicles attend a first aid course.

Provide first aid as required and work with others to make sure that emergency services have been called and have clear access to the site.

Once you have decided who to help this should be your focus, remember you are only one person, you have done the right thing, you have stopped to help, just do what you can.

If you aren’t a trained medical professional and several other people have stopped to help you may not be required. If you are in a remote area it is good practice to check in and ask if your needed, in a built up area with high traffic, the most helpful thing you might be able to do is keep driving if there are already a number of people assisting.

Don’t stop to stare at the scene if you aren’t needed, this will create further traffic issues behind you.

You may be asked by an involved person or a police officer to make a statement after the event if you witnessed the crash. You should write down notes as soon as possible as over time details will become foggy.

Things you will be required remember are:

  • Date of crash
  • Time of crash
  • Precise location of crash
  • Details of other involved drivers/passengers/owners/vehicles/witnesses
  • Details of any injuries you observed.
  • Crash features (traffic control, road features, road alignment, other conditions)
  • Description of how the crash happened.
  • Vehicle and person descriptions.
  • What you were doing and the perspective you viewed the scene from.

Don’t be alarmed if you can’t recall information and do not make it up to answer a question, just answer the questions you can honestly and truthfully. Again, remember you have done the right thing stopping to help, there is no reason to be fearful or hesitant to provide a statement.

Items to carry in your car that will help if you arrive at the scene of a car crash

  • First Aid Kit
  • Safety Triangles
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Rubber Gloves
  • High Vis Vest