What to do if there are injuries following a traffic collision.
Statistics show that almost 40,000 people were killed in the USA in 2019 as a result of a car accident or traffic collision. With around 280 million vehicles on the roads and nearly 230 million licensed road users in the US, this is hardly surprising. It also means that, sooner or later, you might be in a road-traffic accident yourself, or be witness to one. Accidents happen for many reasons, whether it's reckless or negligent driving, mechanical failures, bad weather, or driving on icy roads. And whether it's a car accident on the highway or a bicycle crash, you may need to help. What should you do if you happen to be the first on the scene of a roadside accident?
If you happen to be first on the scene of an accident, how to control traffic around a road accident becomes imperative for numerous reasons, not the least of which is ensuring emergency services can access the scene to help and potentially save lives. This also means you are able to manage the prevailing risks. Here are the steps to take immediately:
Once the traffic flow around the accident scene has been managed to ensure you can safely access those involved, there are some steps to follow to help. Tips to remember if you're called on to provide first aid after a road accident:
If you have been in a car accident yourself, the first thing to do is check yourself thoroughly - are you able to move, do you feel any injuries, and can you call for help? Draw the attention of bystanders, and try to remain calm so they can best assist you. If you are not injured, follow the steps above to assist those who may be.
Although no one expects you to carry a fully-stocked medical kit in your car, or to have a trunk full of emergency equipment, it's always good advice to keep a few essential items in your car in case of emergencies. A quick summary of what you should keep on hand and make use of in such emergencies includes:
Those who have had the responsibility thrust upon them of being first on the scene of a vehicle crash know that this is no easy situation to deal with. Most often these are highly stressful, grave situations with so much happening at the same time that it is easy to get flustered and freeze up entirely; most importantly, remain calm and try to think through the logical steps provided above. If you are able to help, you could be the difference between life and death - remember, everyone benefits from doing First Aid training and learning the basics of CPR.
Yes, go to a doctor as soon as you can, because you could have suffered a strained muscle, soft-tissue injury, a spinal misalignment, or a neck injury due to whiplash. You may even have internal injuries without knowing it - some injuries may only become obvious days after the accident. You would also need proof of such a visit and diagnosis, should you have to legally claim for injury or damages afterward. Rather safe than sorry!
Besides the obvious and visible injuries such as broken bones, bruises, and lacerations, other common injuries include whiplash, back and neck injuries, and soft-tissue damage. It is also common to present with bruising and burns related to airbags and seatbelts.
Accidents in which a car's safety cell is penetrated are among the most dangerous accidents. This includes side impacts. Being ejected from a rolling vehicle can be deadly, but can be avoided by ensuring that all passengers are wearing their seatbelts. Due to incredible advancements in vehicle safety in the last two decades, new cars are far safer than old ones and future cars will be even safer. SUVs usually perform well in accidents thanks to their weight advantage, but roll over more easily due to their higher center of gravity. New electric car and SUV models usually score better in rollover tests because of heavy, floor-mounted batteries reducing their propensity to roll over.
Peruse the NHTSA and IIHS websites to see which cars have the best safety ratings and advanced safety systems. Important safety features include the number of airbags, stability control, and driver-assistance features such as blind-spot assist reduce the likelihood of an accident, according to statistics. A large luxury car, such as a Lexus LS or Audi A8, is usually fitted with far more advanced safety features than a small car such as a Mitsubishi Mirage.