What to Do When You Witness an Auto Accident

If you witness a car accident, the first thing you should do is stay calm and assess the situation. What you do next pretty much depends upon the severity of the accident, whether injuries are involved, and whether or not the situation is still dangerous. Following are a few guidelines to help you decide what to do if you are ever in this situation.

Stay Safe – If you witness the accident while you are driving, pull over at a safe distance (preferably at least 100 feet) and turn on your hazard blinkers. Don’t approach the vehicle(s) unless you’re sure it’s safe (beware of fire, fuel leaks, broken glass and other vehicles driving by).

Call 911 – It can be a mistake to assume someone else has called 911, so do it yourself. Inform the operator about the accident, location, number of vehicles involved and whether there are any obvious injuries.

Check the Victims – If it’s safe to approach and you see someone who is obviously injured, you can try to comfort them by talking to them and letting them know help is coming. However, you should NEVER move an accident victim – you could accidentally make their injuries worse.

Give a Statement – When the police arrive, you should give them a statement by honestly describing what you witnessed. You will also need to give them your name and contact information. It’s possible that you may be contacted as a witness by legal or insurance professionals. If so, simply be honest and repeat the facts you gave in your initial statement.