It will happen at some point in most of our lives that we come across a road collision. Those of us who regularly travel on Ireland’s busiest roads, like Dublin’s M50, have a greater chance of this than most.
As Drivers, what can we do about it?
- Be attentive for brake lights and hazard lights coming back at you, (Domino effect), or drivers ahead of you behaving erratically on your journeys. This will be most likely to happen on the approach to slip roads off and merging lanes on.
- If an incident does occur, and you are close to it, start your hazard lights and make sure you and your car are safe before you do anything else. Once you are sure the scene is safe, call 112 to contact Emergency Services and explain what you can of the situation. Do not get out of the car without your high-viz jacket. You don’t want to become part of the incident.
- If approaching an incident on foot, take great care so as not to cause harm to yourself or others, and be mindful of any other traffic. Remember you maybe entering a crime scene. (Drivers may be subject to serious criminal charges subsequent to the Garda investigation). Do not disturb any vehicle, object or person, unless it is paramount to do so. Other drivers may be unaware of the situation. Ask those not involved in the collision if they have a First Aid/First at Scene Course completed.
- Turn off all engines/ignitions fully. Check for those injured, remembering that pedestrians on the phone or walking away may be involved in the collision and may be severely injured and in shock.
- Do not remove people from vehicles, or from where they are lying. Simply prioritise those injured into the 3-B’s – Breathing – Bleeding – Breaks. Ensure everyone is Breathing. If not, begin CPR. Bleeding can be literally stuffed with a clean cloth/t-shirt and if possible/suitable elevate. Breaks- you can do nothing other than keep the injured party warm and consoled. Treat all injured as if they have a neck injury. Stabilise and support their head by holding it steady. If there is an injured person at the scene, do not leave this person alone. Ensure that there is someone uninjured who will stay with them until the Emergency Services arrive.
- If it is a cyclist or motorcyclist that has been injured, you may need to stay with them. Do not remove the motorcyclist’s helmet unless it is a life/death issue. Undo the retention strap, open the visor and stabilise the head.
- Never give an injured party anything to drink. Wet their lips if they are complaining of thirst.
- Note the impact areas and any injuries so that you can tell the Gardai, Ambulance or Fire Brigade when they arrive, in case the injured person isn’t thinking clearly.
Enrol on a First Aid Course near you this Autumn. This is one occasion where bringing a friend is a great idea.
Remember it is important to know what NOT to do, as much as what to do, at a collision scene.