How to help a car accident victim
Have you ever witnessed a car accident before? If so, what was your first instinct? To walk past the scene and pretend like nothing happened? To stay and feed your eyes; while exclaiming “OMG” a million times? Or to call an emergency channel and report the accident?
Whatever you chose to do, the choice is all yours.
But just in case you’ll like to one day take the initiative and help victims before the arrival of medics, here are a few tips on how to go about that.
Extra Tip: If you are ever involved in a car accident, click this link here to learn what to do.
The following facts are courtesy of WikiHow and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Every year, between 20 and 50 million people are hurt or injured in car accidents.
- Every year, 1.35 million people are killed on roadways around the world.
- Every day, almost 3,700 people are killed globally in crashes involving cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, or pedestrians.
- More than half of those killed are pedestrians, motorcyclists, or cyclists.
How to help victims
1. Check the scene to see whether it’s safe for you
Before attempting to help victims, you need to be sure the area is safe for you, too.
Once you approach the accident scene and vehicle, check for any sign of fluid leaking, flowing fuel, exposed wires, and smokes.
If you notice any of the above, it may be best to contact an emergency service immediately and leave the rescue mission in their hands.
2. Gain access to the victims
If the victims are already outside the car, you can start administering the help or aid you want to give them. But if they’re still locked in the car, you should try and break the window from the side farthest away from anyone in the car.
3. Ask the victims if they want help
Strange as it may sound, you have to ask the victims directly whether or not they want your assistance before you proceed to offer one.
Once you’ve gained access, simply ask the victim: “are you hurt/okay?” “Do you need assistance?” If yes, then you can proceed.
4. To move or not to move the victim
Never ever move the victim. In any position you find them, just attend to them like that until emergency service arrives. This is to prevent worsening their condition.
However, in the event of an imminent fire, explosion, or smoke, it may be best to move the victim. If you ever have to move a victim, always ensure you approach the victim by first kneeling down to their level.
5. Give CPR if necessary
While kneeling next to the victim, place your cheek by the victim’s mouth to check whether they’re still breathing. Or you can check their chest region to feel whether it’s still rising and falling.
In the event that the victim has stopped breathing, CPR may be the best way to bring them back.
But if you don’t know how to give a CPR, you may ask any of the bystanders to assist with that.
6. Administer aid
Before the arrival of medics, you can help the victim by bandaging any obvious wounds, splinting broken bones, applying direct pressure on any bleeding area, packing bandages or clothes around the spine or broken bones to prevent movement, elevating bleeding areas to chest region, etc.
Ensure you’re talking with the victim while doing all these to prevent them from going into shock.
7. Treat any sign of shock
Shock is one of the commonest aftermaths of car accidents. Immediately after a car accident, victims normally fall into shock, probably because of the unexpected nature of the accident.
A good sign of a car accident victim going into shock is a pale face. Other signs include:
- Bluish tinge to lips or fingernails (or gray in the case of dark complexions)
- Rapid pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Enlarged pupils
- Weakness or fatigue
8. Calm victim down
After a car accident, most victims are usually scared. Talking to and giving encouraging words can help calm them down until emergency services arrive.
For example, you could say something like, “You’re handling this pretty well. Just hold on a little; help is on the way.” “I’ve never seen anyone as strong as you; just hang in there and let me help you through this.”
If you don’t mind, you can even hold the victim’s hand if you can while talking to them.
Story by Uday Tank