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Holding Icon How to Give First Aid Following a Collision

How to Give First Aid Following a Collision

SAS survival expert, John 'Lofty' Wiseman

The low light conditions and slippery road surfaces of winter can cause accidents. The first few minutes after a collision are critical to minimising injury, so if you have been involved in a collision but are not seriously injured, or witness an accident, the following steps should be followed as quickly and calmly as possible.

  • Protect The Scene
    Always remember safety first - the victim's and your own. Assess the situation for potential threats and once you have established it is safe; concentrate on preventing further injury. If there has been a fuel spillage, make sure the ignition of any damaged vehicle is turned off and any cigarettes or naked flames are extinguished. Use warning triangles to warn approaching traffic or by delegating two people to signal at each end of the collision scene. Turn on the hazard lights of all undamaged vehicles at the scene. This is particularly critical during darkness or at times of reduced visibility when the risk of subsequent collisions is very high. Your aim is to prevent the situation from deteriorating until professional help arrives.
  • Check All Injuries
    Once the scene is secure, make an initial survey of damage, checking for hidden victims. Administer first aid to the injured in order of priority. Injured persons should be moved only if they are in danger of drowning, suffocating, burning or being electrocuted. If possible, always remove the danger from the patient rather than the other way around to minimise the chances of further injury.

If you have not had formal training in first aid, follow these tips:

  • Remember ABC - Airway, Breathing, Circulation. No matter how severe the injuries appear to be, establishing and maintaining an airway is the most important thing.
  • Clear airways - if the person is unconscious, be sure his or her air passages are clear. False teeth, chewing gum, vomit or mucus can block air passages.
  • Artificial respiration - if the person is not breathing and you are familiar with mouth-to-mouth or artificial respiration, begin the procedure immediately.
  • Stop any bleeding - apply direct pressure over the wound. A bandage from a first aid kit or clean handkerchief could be used. Avoid using tissue paper or other material that could contaminate a wound. If there is a depressed skull fracture, pressure should not be applied.
  • Support head and spine - if a person is pinned in a car or by a car, do not attempt to move them but support these vital areas.

Survival Tip

No mattr how severe the injuries appear to be maintaining the injured person's airway is the most important thing. (Lofty)

Winter Survival Guide

Download the complete guide

Winter Survival Guide cover


Amid falling temperatures and rising levels of concern among drivers, Halfords Autocentres has worked with renowned survival expert, former SAS Sergeant Major and author of the best-selling SAS Survival Handbook John 'Lofty' Wiseman to create the ultimate Motoring Survival Guide.

Download the complete guide or read on for more winter survival advice.