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How to help if you come across a car accident

By January 7, 2015 Emergency No Comments

Staff writer

You’re driving home one evening and you are happen across the scene of a car accident. No one else is around, and you have to do something to help. What do you do?

Call an ambulance

Getting experienced, capable help on the scene is often the difference between life and death. Get your bearings right so that you can give the emergency responder the correct location of where you are. Try and explain as best as you can the nature of the accident and injuries you have seen. If the paramedics arrive on the scene, do exactly as instructed by them

Don’t disturb the scene

Unless the victim is in imminent danger, like a fire or drowning, don’t move them. Do not move the victim if you believe there might be a spinal injury. If the victim has broken bones or piece of debris stuck in them, moving them can cause internal damage. If they are in danger, move the victim while try to keep them as stable as possible and avoid unnecessary bending or twisting of the body, especially the neck and limbs.

Check if they are breathing

Look for chest movement and feel for breath. If the person is gasping or you cannot detect a breath within several seconds, normal breathing is not present. If the victim is not breathing, and you are trained in CPR, safely administer aid. If not, then gently tilt the victim’s chin up toward the sky to open the airway.


If there is severe bleeding, press firmly against the wound with some kind of thick pad or cloth. This will help absorb the blood and allow it to clot. If possible, use a barrier between you and the victim’s blood such as several dressings, a plastic bag or latex gloves.  If blood soaks through the cloth, don’t remove it. This could cause the bleeding to worsen. Instead, add more thick layers of cloth and apply pressure even more firmly.

If the victim is still bleeding, and there is no evidence of a broken bone, elevate the wound above the level of the heart. Elevation helps reduce blood pressure at the wound. Continue to keep hand pressure on the wound.


Shock occurs when the victim’s circulatory system fails to provide enough blood to the body especially the brain. Any serious injury can throw a person into shock and in extreme instances lead to death. These are the signs the victim may present moist, clammy and cool skin, a weak and rapid pulse, dilated pupils, weakness, thirst, nausea and vomiting, shallow, rapid breathing and a vacant expression. Have him or her lie down and elevate the feet if you can do so without causing further injury to the neck, back or wound.

Emergency information

If the victim is coherent, ask them if they are a CenHealth member, or any other emergency documentation which can help you reach their next of kin, alert emergency services to a relevant existing condition or illness which would inform their response to treatment.


 Create a CenHealth emergency profile today so you can get ER24 Emergency Medical Services if you get in an accident. Sign up here