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What to do if you witness a car crash: Staying at the scene

There are times when people may witness a car crash, and it's important they know what to do. Witnessing an accident is often traumatizing, but there's also a chance for you to help someone, to call for emergency care and to assist the police in determining fault.

The most important thing to do is to make sure you first get yourself into a safe position. Don't suddenly stop your vehicle in lane or get too close to the crash. Try to stay around 100 feet away from the scene, so you're out of the way of glass, leaked fuel or other hazards. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of the crash.

Next, call 911. Don't assume someone already did, since the people in the collision may not have thought to do so. Let the operator know what you can see at the scene, so they can send emergency help. After you do that, you can move on to help the victims.

If you can, make sure you stabilize the vehicles; for example, take out the keys and turn them off. Put them in park. Then, check on the victims. Never move an injured person unless there is a fire or risk of fire.

Finally, give your statement to the police. Your statement may help the police determine who is at fault. Even if not, you could help the police understand the extent of the crash better and give the victims a chance to reach out if they need assistance during the claims process. Crashes are difficult, so your help can make a difference.

Source: Geico, "What To Do If You Witness A Car Accident," accessed March 21, 2018

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