If a traffic accident occurs, there are many things that have to be done at once, and there is more involved than merely helping the casualties -- warning other drivers, sending for help and protecting the site from further accidents until the emergency services arrive.

You may be involved in a traffic accident or more likely you may be among the first to arrive on the scene of an accident. What you do in those first few minutes could be a matter of life or death.

Do not leave your vehicle where it could become a hazard to other traffic, but park at the roadside between the accident site and oncoming traffic and where your vehicle can easily be seen. Leave room for emergency vehicles. Use your hazard warning lights. At night you can light the accident site with your headlamps.

accident sign
Warning signs used by emergency services Warning signs used by emergency services at the site of a traffic accident. Slow down to a speed, slower than normal, at which you can stop quickly and safely. Be prepared to stop if signalled to do so and give way to emergency vehicles.

If you are involved in a traffic accident

Stop if you are involved in a traffic accident when you are driving or riding any vehicle, including a cycle, even if your vehicle is not damaged. You must stop, or remain stationary, if a person is killed or injured or a vehicle or object is damaged. You must stop if any animal ( horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig or goat ) on or near the road is killed or injured.

If no one was killed or seriously injured or there is no serious damage you may move your vehicle to an adjacent safe place.

If any person was killed or seriously injured, or there is serious damage, you, or any other person, must not move or interfere with your vehicle without the permission of a Police Officer, except to save life, put out a fire or deal with any other emergency.

Dangerous goods

If an accident involves a vehicle containing dangerous goods, keep well away from the vehicle unless you have to approach to save life. Beware of dangerous liquid, dust or vapour concentration.

Look for as much information as possible from labels and other markings and arrange for the police or fire brigade to be told immediately.

Fire

fire Fire is one of the dangers following a traffic accident. Put out lighted cigarettes or other fire hazards, switch off your engine and warn others to do the same. Check for any danger from a leaking petrol tank. If possible disconnect vehicle batteries.

Carry a suitable fire extinguisher and make sure you know how it works.

Getting help

getting help Send someone to find a telephone to make an emergency call for police, fire and ambulance services. If necessary use a vehicle to reach the nearest telephone. It is a good idea to send a second person in case one telephone is not working or there is delay.

Give the following information :

  • exact location of the accident;
  • number and general condition of casualties;
  • number and type of vehicles involved.

The telephone number for emergency calls is 999.

First aid

first aidFor most people without any first aid training it is better to do nothing and wait until medical help arrives. However if further danger threatens it may be necessary to help an injured person. Advice is given at the back of this book on what to do.

Get some basic training in first aid so you can be of some help to an injured person by giving any necessary first aid safely and without further risk to the victim.

You can learn first aid from the St. John Ambulance Association and Brigade or from the Hong Kong Red Cross First Aid Training Centre.

Carry a clearly marked first aid kit. Keep it in a place, such as a glovebox, where it can be located if needed. It may not be possible to open the boot of a car.

What to do after a traffic accident

You must give your name and address, the name and address of the vehicle owner and the vehicle number to any Police Officer or to anyone who has reasonable grounds for wanting them.

You must report the accident to the nearest police station or any Police Officer as soon as is reasonably practicable but not later than 24 hours after the accident, unless you are incapable of doing so, if

  • you were injured;
  • a vehicle or object

( including a traffic sign etc.) was damaged or an animal was killed or injured and you are unable to give the above details to the owner or other responsible person.

If you or any person received a severe blow, particularly on the head, see a doctor even if you have no external injuries.

Traffic accidents in tunnel areas

If you are involved in a traffic accident in a 'Tunnel area' do not move your vehicle.

Use the emergency telephone to contact tunnel control and wait for the arrival of the tunnel patrol or a Tunnel Officer. The tunnel control centre will call for emergency services if required.

Tunnel Officers will carry out the duties of Police Officers.

If you are at the scene of a traffic accident see pages 126 and 127 at the back of this book for a checklist on what to do and for advice on first aid.