5 steps to take if you come across a road collision

With the darker, wetter and colder weather drawing in. The risk of road traffic collisions can rise significantly. With 176,500 casualties of all severities in the year ending June 2017 with 1,799 people killed from June 2015 to June 2017 on Britain’s roads. The likelihood of you coming across a crash at any severity is high.

You could potentially be the only person there to help and the first few moments are following a crash could mean life or death for the casualty. Below are some simple steps to help you and your casualty have the best chance of life.

  1. Look after number 1 – You are number 1, your safety is paramount, it can be very easy to get caught up in the adrenaline of just witnessing or coming across a collision. Consider your own safety first before helping others. The scene of a traffic accident can pose serious risks to not only you and the casualty but other traffic coming towards you. To reduce the risk, park a safe distance from the crash, making sure you consider the location of your vehicle, try not to block access for the emergency services. Put your hazard warning lights on, consider buying a high viz jacket and try to safely warn others vehicle users of the danger. Finally, turn of your engine and try and turn their engines of too, do not smoke due to the risk of explosion and fires.
  2. Get some help – Reduce the time it takes for help to arrive by contacting the emergency services as soon as possible on 999 (UK) or 112 (EU). Remember the mnemonic LIONEL – Location, Incident, Other services you require, Number of Casualties, Extent of Injuries and Location again.
  3. Approach Casualties – approach casualties safely, assessing which casualty needs your help first, this will normally but not always be who ever is in a life-threatening situation. Remember to approach casualties if possible from the front, so they are looking at you, you want to reduce them moving their head to look for you if you are shouting at them. This could cause further injury. At this point their may be other bystanders there to help, ask them to do what you are doing and try and assess all casualties quickly. Look out for any casualties that could possibly have been thrown from the vehicle, they will need attention swiftly.
  4. DR A.C – If you have ever come across a first aid class or maybe seen one on T.V you may have heard of this mnemonic.

D – Danger, as we have mentioned, consider your safety and others around you before getting involved.

R – Response – Treat the casualties who are unresponsive first, they may not be breathing, they will need attention first.

A – Airway, maintaining an airway is of vital important, this allows a casualty to breath, with the airway compromised they will most certainly die. Tilt their head back, trying your best to keep it in line, there is a risk or further injury to a neck or spine, however this must be done as a compromised airway will result in death. If an airway is opening safely, it should have minimum impact on the neck and spine.

B – Breathing – look, listen and feel for normal breathing for 10 seconds

C– CPR – if they are not breathing, start CPR immediately and consider seeking out a Defibrillator (AED).


  1. Triage – Once dealt with the most life-threatening injuries, move onto the secondary injuries such as serious bleeding, broken bones, burns etc.


An article such as this should not be used as a replacement for a first aid course, but to be used as an awareness of some of the risks, hazards and potentially life saving skills you could implement if you see or some across a road traffic collision. Although rates of crashes are decreasing, there are more vehicles on the roads than ever before, so stay safe, keep your eyes open and always remember, if you were the injured person you would want help, so always help others in any way you can.





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