Even the most careful drivers can find themselves involved in a collision – or you might be the first person to arrive at the scene of an incident. It’s very important to make sure there’s no further injury or damage.
Move any uninjured passengers, animals and passers-by to a safe place away from the vehicles involved in the incident.
- Do not move anyone who is injured, unless they’re in danger.
- Do not remove a motorcyclist’s helmet unless it’s essential (for example, if they’re having breathing difficulties).
Warn other road users as quickly as possible
- turn on hazard warning lights or other lights
- display a warning triangle (unless you’re on a motorway).
Switch off your engine and warn others to do the same. Put out cigarettes or other fire hazards and call the emergency services if necessary.
Before you call emergency services, make sure you can give exact details about where you are and the casualties involved. If you’re on a motorway, use the location details given on the marker posts to help the emergency services get to you quickly.
When the ambulance arrives, give the crew as many facts as you can about the condition of the casualties so they can help those most in need first.
If you can, gather and record information about the scene of the incident: this might involve taking photographs, drawing a map or noting details such as the weather and road conditions, damage and/or injuries caused and details of the vehicles involved. This will help the police work out what has happened. The sooner you can do this after the event, the clearer and more accurate the information will be.
What to do if you’re involved in an incident
If you’re involved in a road traffic incident, you must stop. You must call the police if you’ve damaged someone else’s property but cannot find them to tell them, or if a person or animal has been injured.
You’ll need to give the following details to anyone who has good reason for needing them
- your name and address
- the name and address of the vehicle’s owner
- the vehicle’s registration number.
If you cannot do this straight away, you must report the incident to the police within 24 hours (in Northern Ireland you must report it immediately).
You’ll also have to give your insurance details to the police if there’s been an injury. If you cannot show the insurance documents when you report the incident, you must produce them at a police station within seven days.
The police may ask you for a statement. Remember you do not have to make a statement straight away. It might be better to wait a while so you can reflect clearly on what happened. Write your statement carefully and keep a copy.
Giving first aid
First aid is just that: help that you can quickly give to help people who are injured until the emergency services arrive. If you’re able to give first aid, do so; however, if you’re not confident about giving first aid, leave it to others. You may be able to help by sitting with a casualty to talk to them, keep them calm and watch them until an ambulance arrives.
If you do not have any first aid training, it’s a good idea to look at the information provided by St John Ambulance, British Red Cross or other first aid organisations about how to give first aid or, if possible, take a course.