Imagine driving along and suddenly coming up to an accident that's just happened - what should you do? It is rare, but it can happen that you arrive at an accident before any emergency vehicles. Should you stop or not? Here’s what you should do.
To stop or not to stop
This question is a tough one to answer as there are many things that will determine if you should stop. Do you feel confident enough stopping, is there a safe place to pull over and do you have any first aid training - if you’ve answered yes to all of these questions, then you should pull over and help.
Call 000 to get help
If you are first to an accident scene, it’s best to call 000 as soon as possible. Emergency services will be dispatched, and the call-takers are trained to tell you exactly what to do. Patients should not be moved until it’s deemed safe to do so - and professional emergency service personnel are equipped to assist with this. It’s also important to be aware of the accident scene around you - including potential hazards such as broken glass, broken power lines.
Do not direct traffic
Directing traffic can be quite dangerous and difficult, therefore it is advised to leave this to the emergency services, in particular police. If you have an emergency triangle or cone in your car, you can put it out to warn traffic.
How the accident can affect you and what happens afterwards
Seeing an accident happen or even just seeing an accident scene can affect some people. It can be a traumatic experience. Everyone is different, but some of the reactions can include panic attacks, depression, anger, flashbacks and sleep disturbance.