Written on Mar 17, 2016 11:00:00 AM
What to do as a Witness After a Car Accident
Topics: Car Accidents
Everyone’s been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic because of highway or intersection car accidents. However, witnessing a car accident as it occurs is an entirely different matter--it can incite adrenaline and fear, and cause you to freeze on what to do.
Depending on the circumstances, you want to be prepared to assist other drivers who may be clouded and disoriented from the impact of their accident.
We have provided some tips for you to be aware of when you are a witness after a car accident.
Safety Before Anything Else
It won’t do you or the drivers involved in the crash any good if you compromise your safety in the process of pulling over. Be sure once you see a crash to take inventory of your surroundings and find a safe place to pull over on the side of the road.
You want to put some distance between you and the accident scene to avoid the dangers of broken glass or leaked fuel. Once you park, turn your hazard lights on, because it will alert any Highway Patrol officials regarding the scene.
Next Steps After a Car Accident
Just like your safety is priority, so are the people involved in the accident. Before doing anything, ensure 911 has been called and the local authorities are en route to the scene. Never just assume this has happened, because remember--crash victims can be very disoriented and be emotionally hit just as hard as they were physically.
Here are some next steps after calling 911 and ensuring there are no immediate dangers:
- Don’t try to relocate injured crash victims unless a car is on fire or there is risk of an explosion.
- If applicable, try to move cars out of an intersection or onto the side of the highway if they are in danger of another impact.
- Stay objective when speaking to authorities, and provide facts and your contact information if they need to reach you again. Depending on the kind of crash, you may have to be talked to again regarding what you saw, and don’t assert judgment or fault--that’s not what you’re there to do.
- Take note of the weather conditions, and the accident from start to finish as you remember. Write it down after it happened if you need to; this will help you keep facts straight.
Whatever Happens, Stay Calm as a Witness
When you pull over, don’t get out to help victims unless you feel 100% safe doing so. Making sure the police are notified and that the cars are out of harm’s way is important, but only do what you can.
We hope this has been helpful in providing insight to being a witness in a car accident. Many times (depending on the situation, as it is on a case-by-case basis), witnesses are invaluable on how an accident is evaluated by the police, since they are objective and have no dog in the fight. In other words, there’s no reason for a witness to lie.
To learn more, check out some of our free resources or feel free to contact us!