Emergency response: What to do if you come across an accident

Posted by: Cal on 10/04/2014

Category: General

While keeping your car tyres in optimum condition is a great way to lessen your chances of getting involved in an accident, there are other ways in which you can minimise the risk of being involved in an incident on the road.

However, whether it's due to driver fatigue or distraction, an animal crossing the road or an inexperienced driver, sometimes a crash may occur when you least expect it.

If you do find yourself in the situation where you or another road user is involved in an accident, it's important to know what to do in order to keep everyone safe. Here's a guide to emergency response if you find yourself at the scene.

Keep calm

The number one rule of dealing with any accident is to remain calm and collected with your response. Panicking will only make the situation worse.

Identify if anyone is hurt

If you are not hurt, make sure that others involved in the accident are also uninjured. If anyone has sustained injuries or you're not quite sure whether you need an ambulance, you will need to call emergency services. If someone is not breathing or unconscious, you may need to administer CPR. An emergency service operator can assist you over the phone if you are not sure how to go about this.

Call emergency services

If someone is hurt, it's important to contact emergency services as soon as you can. Australia's emergency number is 000. The emergency operator will need to know details such as your specific location, including landmarks if necessary, the nature of injuries and how many people require help. It's important to stay on the line with an operator until they tell you to hang up the phone, as they may need to give you more information. You may need to call both an ambulance and the police, depending on the situation.

If you're not sure whether those involved in the accident require emergency services, it is best you call just in case, as it's best to let an expert assess the condition of anyone who has been involved in a crash.

Assess the area

Depending where the crash occurred, you may need to clear the area. Firstly, turn your hazard lights on and ensure no cars are blocking the area. If the crash occurred at an intersection, move cars away if it is safe to do so. You may also want to remove any obstructions, or dangerous items such as glass from the road - only if it is safe to do so.

Remember to keep other people off the road near the area where the crash has occurred. You can also take a photo of the scene or sketch the car crash as accurately as possible.

Collect details

Those involved in a crash should take the details of the other driver or drivers involved in the accident, including the name and address of both the driver and owner of the cars (if they are different), car registration details, driver licence details and insurance details, according to Angloinfo Australia. However, each state will have a slightly different set of guidelines for what to do, so it's important to look up your area's recommendations to be sure.

In addition, if you are involved in a crash, the Royal Automotive Club of Western Australia suggests avoiding taking responsibility, offering to pay damages or admitting you are to blame, even if it appears you are at fault - this could complicate things when it comes to your rights and insurance decisions.

Check your tyres

If under inflated or worn tyres were the cause or partial cause of the accident, it's important to get them replaced by a reputable tyre fitter straight away. Remember, keeping your tyres in good condition, with correct tread depth and inflation levels, can greatly increase your ability to control the vehicle, meaning you're less at risk of a crash.