This article tells you what you should do if you are involved in a car accident, but do you know what you should do if you witness one? As a witness, you can play a critical role to ensure victims’ safety and you can also assist law enforcement and claims adjusters. By following these tips, you’ll be prepared to help other drivers until emergency responders arrive.
- Get our of harm’s way and ensure your safety. Before you offer assistance, make sure you’re a safe distance from the crash (around 100 feet). Park in a safe place so that others can avoid you and put on your hazard lights.
- Stay calm. Don’t rush into the scene without a plan. Focus on the severity of the crash and what must be done in the specific situation.
- Call 911. Never assume that someone else already called 911. Even if the crash might not seem that severe, it’s best to call 911 and let them know what happened.
- Check on the victims. Unless you’re a trained medical professional or there is a risk of the vehicle catching fire, it’s best not to move anyone who is injured. This often causes more harm than good. Just reassure the victims that help is on the way.
- Take pictures. Victims may not be able to take photos, so take some if it’s safe. You may be asked for them later for law enforcement or claims purposes.
- Give a statement and offer your contact information. If the police arrive, be sure to stay and give a statement of what you witnessed. If the police do not arrive, give your contact information to those involved. Be honest, factual and consistent with your statements. Also keep in mind that witnesses are often called upon by insurance claims adjusters.