What Should You Do if You Witness an Accident on the Road

The number of accidents on Quebec roads has dropped significantly in 2021 compared to the average of the five previous years, which is encouraging.

Maybe you already know what to do if you have a car accident, but if you witness one, how should you react?

Witnesses to an accident can play an important role in ensuring the safety of the people involved and facilitating the first responders’ intervention, but also in providing useful information to insurance companies for claims purposes.

Here are six things to do when witnessing a car accident:

1. Ensure Your Own Safety

Before trying to help anyone, make sure you’re parked at a safe distance from the accident site, mainly so the other motorists can see you and avoid hitting you. Turn on your hazard warning lights and check for potential dangers like shattered glass, hazardous materials, or fallen power lines before getting out of your vehicle. It might be a better idea to remain inside.

2. Help Secure the Premises

If you have an emergency triangle or flares, use them to warn the others that there was an accident. Obviously, the flares must be avoided if gas or other flammable materials have been spilled on the site.

3. Call 911

Even if the accident does not appear to be severe, don’t take any chances. Call 911 and follow the operator’s recommendations.

4. Check On the Victims

Next, get closer to the crash to check on the occupants’ condition. You should not attempt to move an injured person unless you are a health care professional or the person’s life is in immediate danger, because it could worsen his or her injuries. Try to reassure the occupants by telling them that first responders are on their way with a calm voice.

5. Take Pictures

Victims of a road accident don’t always think about it or can be unable to do so. If you can do it safely, take pictures of the vehicle(s) and crash site. These pictures could later be useful to police officers, to insurance companies, and in court.

6. Give Your Version of the Events And Your Contact Info

If the police arrives, stay on the premises and give them your version of the events. If they don’t, leave your contact info to someone involved in the accident so he or she can call you later if needed, for an insurance claim for example.   

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