There are few experiences in life that are worse than being in a car crash; especially if you are the cause of the accident. A collision can occur for any number of reasons and in a lot of different places. Your car might end up hitting a lot of different things. Pedestrians, other cars, cyclists, or property of others. No matter what you hit, why you hit it, or where you are-a motorist has four basic responsibilities when involved in a collision.
If you are involved in a collision, you must stop immediately. If you do not remain at the scene of the accident, you could be punished severely. Your driver’s license may be suspended for up to a year, or revoked. You could receive a jail sentence for up to a year, or be fined up to $2,500.00-or both. If you are ever involved in a collision; stop immediately and stay put.
It is your duty to render aid to anyone injured in the collision. If possible, find someone who is trained in first aid. Call paramedics. Do not attempt to move anyone who appears to be seriously injured; unless doing so will prevent further injury. (For example, moving them out of the way of oncoming traffic.) You are also required to render reasonable assistance (including transportation) to the injured if it is apparent they need medical attention, or they request your help.
Contact the Police
If you are involved in a collision that results in the injury or death of another, or causes over $1,500.00 worth of property damage, you must notify the police, Sheriff, or Highway Patrol. (This rule applies to any type of crash-even if another motorist is not involved.) You may be asked to provide insurance information.
You must exchange certain information with others involved in the collision. This information includes: Your full name, address, vehicle registration number, and your insurance information. (Including your agent/provider’s name and phone number.) If you hit a parked vehicle and can not locate the owner, leave a note with the following information. Your name, address, and the vehicle registration number of your car.
You can, and should, help at the scene of a crash. There are a few basic first aid procedures you can follow-even if you are not an expert. First, call the paramedics. Second, make sure you and the injured parties are in a safe area. If you and the victim(s) are in a safe place then do not move the injured people. Third is to assess their injuries. If they are conscious, try talking to them. Say, “Hello.” Ask them if they know what is wrong and what happened. Fourth, if they are unconscious, check their airway. Gently tilt their head back and open their mouth. Check for obstructions, and place your head near their mouth. Listen and see if you can hear them breathing or feel their breath on your face. Watch their chest to see if it rises and falls. Fifth, if they are not breathing; they may need CPR. Do not perform CPR if you are not certified. If others have stopped, ask if anyone is CPR certified. If not, wait for the paramedics to arrive. Sixth, check for bleeding. If they are bleeding get a piece of clean cloth and hold it against the wound. Seventh, treat them for shock. If the injured person is in shock, then loosen tight clothing, cover them to keep them warm, and elevate their legs.
Remember, when calling paramedics, tell them: Your location, what happened, the number of people injured, if anyone is not breathing, and anything else they ask for. You do have responsibilities when you are first on the scene. You might just be the difference between life and death for somebody.