What to do in case of a crash Lessons Note

You must stop and lend immediate assistance when involved in a crash. If you need an ambulance, police or the fire brigade, call 000.

If you are involved in a crash, you’re required to:

  • provide your name, address, registration details and the name of the vehicle owner to involved people (or their representatives) and to the police (if attending).
  • provide details of vehicles involved and information about witnesses.

It’s not unlikely for a second crash to happen at the scene of the first crash, as debris and car parts are likely to endanger the safety of others.

While staying safe, you should remove anything that can endanger others and place a warning triangle at an appropriate distance behind your vehicle to warn others.

You must report all crashes involving bodily injury to the police. There is no need to notify the police if there aren't any injuries and towing isn't needed.

However, you must report the crash to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 if police don’t attend the crash site and:

  • there is property damage
  • there are injured animals
  • an involved vehicle requires towing
  • if an involved person is treated for a crash-related injury later

What should you do at the crash scene?

Knowing what to do after a crash can save lives!

Scan the scene

  • Assess the situation - is it safe to approach?
  • Look for injured persons
  • Call an ambulance (dial 000)
  • If there are others at the scene, ask for help

Ensure that the area is safe

  • Use hazard lights (and other lights if necessary) to warn others
  • Warn approaching traffic
  • Turn off damaged vehicles

Check the injured

If they are conscious, treat any injuries you can and look for heavy bleeding. Talk to them.

If unconscious:

  • Check the airway by opening their mouth and clearing any loose or obstructive objects from the airway such as blood or vomit
  • Check for breathing
    • Tilt head gently
    • Listen, look and feel for breathing
    • Maintain an open airway
    • If lying on the ground, keep them on their side in a stable position. The head should be tilted back and face pointed down to maintain an open airway
    • If not breathing - begin CPR even if they are injured

Don’t remove an injured person from a vehicle or move them in general unless necessary (e.g. you need to perform CPR, the vehicle is on fire or they are in danger from traffic). Wait for specialist help as there is a risk of spinal injuries etc.

Stop any heavy bleeding

  • Find the source of the bleeding
  • Make a pad using some kind of available clean cloth, and apply firm pressure
  • Raise the injured area if possible - it may reduce the bleeding.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

When performing CPR on a child, use minimal head tilt and small breaths. When performing CPR on an infant, give small puffs and don’t use head tilt at all.

Always try to protect everyone from disease transmission when giving first aid (e.g. avoid touching bodily fluid if possible and wash your hands thoroughly after the encounter).

Dangerous load

If a truck carrying a dangerous load is involved in a crash:

  • Call 000
  • Don’t touch any chemicals
  • Avoid breathing the fumes or dust
  • Warn others to leave the site

When you need to be towed

When having your vehicle towed, it’s crucial that you know your rights and responsibilities:

  • As the owner or driver, you are responsible to ensure that the tow truck driver has an accredited driver’s certificate
  • You must sign a towing authorisation form before towing (should include the full cost of towing, storage, and delivery to the desired address)
  • You don’t have to use the first tow truck that appears
  • Your insurance may cover towing

NSW-based tow trucks have number plates with 4 numbers and ending in TT (eg. 3241-TT).

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