The more time you spend on the road, the more accidents you're likely to see. Suddenly, there's a crash just in front of you, and it's your duty to help. Jalopnik readers know how to keep it safe while also providing assistance to fellow motorists.
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There are only a few rules, but it's easy to mess things up. The adrenalin is pumping, the stress level is high, you may see blood and debris everywhere, and safety measures are overwhelmed by your urge to help. But if you keep cool you can still be the hero of the day without making a bigger mess.
Photo Credit: the wide world of Russian dash cams
10.) Turn on your hazards and slow down
Obviously, if it's just fender bender, you keep going. If it's something heavier and you're the first to the scene, you are required by basic human decnency help. But be careful — stopping or changing direction too rapidly can make you the next victim.
9.) Leave space for the emergency services
Emergency crews will come with big vehicles and the space around the crash is most likely tight enough as it is. If there's traffic or hard terrain around make sure to leave them enough room to do their job.
8.) Put your high visibility jacket on
This picture demonstrates why. I know most people don't have these in the US, but in Europe this equipment is pretty much required by the law.
That's a good thing when your clothes are gray. In fact, any color is pretty invisible after the sun goes down.
7.) Check the condition of the victims
You need this to know what you're dealing with. Also, there's a chance you can do something to improve conditions before the help arrives.
6.) Call 911 and give a short but clear description
Location, number of injured, most likely condition. That's all they need to know. Don't panic, keep it short, that's the most helpful thing you can do. They will know their part.
5.) Don't move the victim unless it's a must
You don't see what's going on under their clothing, and a bad move can paralyze the injured. Unless someone is in a dangerous position it's best to act very gently and even then you should move with care.
4.) If you're qualified, try to improve the conditions
Knowing CPR can save lives. Also, there are many doctors and nurses on the roads who know what do do. If you're one of them, you will help instantly. If you're not sure, wait for the professionals.
3.) Help keep traffic moving
There are enough spectators as it is, and nothing is more annoying (and dangerous) than when people slow down to check out an accident on the highway. Be Officer Barbrady and tell them to move along, there's nothing to see here.
2.) Think about what you've seen. You're a witness.
The police will need all the information you have to decide who or what caused the accident. Keep it to the facts.
1.) Go home and grab a beer
It's been a long day, you've seen some violence and possibly blood as well on the road. The police had questions, you felt bad for the injured, wasn't sure how to help, but it's over. You'll probably be charged up on adrenaline so it's best to get some rest if you can. A good IPA is the best way to start.