While we all strive to keep safety the number one part of the job, incidents and accidents happen. Safety is about more than just your CSA scores, you’ve got to know what to do if you find yourself in the heat of the moment.
As such, we want to take some time to go over what you need to do if you are involved in an accident or other road incident. It’s very important you pay close attention to each step as you go about ensuring everything is handled by-the-book.
If you are involved in an accident – even a minor one – you have to be the authority on the scene and conduct yourself accordingly. Always keep a cool head and make sure you are reacting properly. It is likely the other person you were involved in an accident with is much more nervous than you are.
In all cases, make sure your safety, and that of the other motorists, is the primary consideration. If you are involved in an accident, there are some standard procedures to undertake.
- Stop immediately.
- Notify emergency services.
- Move your vehicle to the side of the road, if possible.
- Turn on your four-way flashers and put out three warning devices as soon as it is practical.
- Help any injured, if there are any, to the extent of your ability.
- Under no circumstances should you leave the scene.
- Contact your company and provide them with a quick situation report.
- Establish a “contact schedule” during the call.
- Assist emergency services upon their arrival.
Once the scene has been secured, you will need to document the accident. When documenting you must get the names of all involved, including other drivers, passengers, and any other parties, witnesses or law enforcement officers.
Also get the license plate of all the vehicles involved and vehicles driven by witnesses. Take photos of the scene, showing the approach and impact area. Also take pictures of the vehicles involved.
When working in or around the accident scene, make sure you are very careful. Traffic does not always act appropriately and in some cases other drivers are distracted by whatever is going on in the accident scene.
Always face approaching traffic and watch it closely as you make your way around the scene and place warning devices such as reflective triangles. Always don high-visibility wear and be cognizant of everything going on around you.
Once you have completed your investigation of the scene, always return to your vehicle, as this offers the best possible protection. If waiting in your vehicle is not possible, stay as far away from the traffic lanes as possible.
Finally, do not leave the scene until you are released by the law enforcement officer on the scene. Be prepared to undergo a post-accident drug and alcohol test, as well. Generally, both your company and law enforcement will want to test you.
Basic First Aid
In some serious situations, you may be required to perform basic first aid. If you have not taken a basic CPR or first aid class, consider investing the time to take one. As a professional driver, the odds that you may have to deal with an injured person at some time are greater than for most people.
Knowing you can assist can make all the difference in an accident or other incident. If you are called upon to provide first aid, keep the following principles in mind:
- Protect yourself and do not get any of the other person’s bodily fluids on you.
- Contact emergency services.
- Do not move an injured person unless they may die where they are.
- Check the person’s “ABCs” (airway, breathing and circulation)
- Make sure the person is breathing.
- If the person has no pulse, CPR may be necessary.
- If you need to control bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound.
Hopefully, you will never end up in a situation where these skills are required. Even so, accidents happen, so if you find yourself on the scene of incident, always remember the importance of conducting yourself properly. Join us in Part II when we take a look at fire prevention and suppression.