- Witnessing an accident can be upsetting, but you should try to stay calm. Avoid panicking and potentially causing another accident by running across the road to help.
- If you’re in your own car, use your hazard lights to warn approaching traffic of an incident.
- Your first priority should be to check if anyone is injured and if so call 999 for an ambulance. Be aware that someone who is screaming may actually be less badly hurt than someone who is quiet or moaning.
- Let the 999 operators know the extent of any injuries. Stay at the scene as the emergency services may rely on you to let them know the location of the accident.
- The people involved in the accident may ask you to give an impartial witness account of what happened. If you do this, make sure you take notes and/or photos of the accident.
- You aren’t obliged by law to give a witness account. However, if you don’t, the police may ask you instead to give a witness statement.
- All cars involved in an accident are required to stop - regardless of who was to blame - so they can exchange details for insurance purposes. This is even more pressing if someone is injured in the accident. So if you see someone driving away from the scene, make a note of his or her registration plate number.
- Don't attempt to move anyone who is injured unless the emergency services have advised so, but make sure they’re reasonably comfortable. Cover the injured person in a blanket until the emergency services arrive. Keep them warm, particularly as they're likely to be shocked.
- If you know first aid and you can see how it could help, apply it to any casualties before the emergency services arrive. Limit bleeding by applying force to the wound and raising up the injured part as much as is possible.
- Bear in mind it’s illegal to move any car involved in the accident or any debris from the scene. Leave things as they are, even if they’re blocking the road to other drivers.
- And, finally, avoid smoking, as there may be a petrol spillage.
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