5 First Aid Tips You Should Know in a Road Accident Emergency

Traffic accidents are a major cause of death. Every year thousands of people died or were injured in road accidents in Australia.

Based on our latest national toll data By November 2020, 1,132 road fatalities were registered. This is a decrease of 3.7% overall compared to the twelve month period November 2019.

The current annual death rate is 4.4 per 100,000 people.

Common cause of deaths from road accidents

While the lack of proper roads, rashes, drunk and negligent driving can be partially blamed for such a high number of deaths and accidents, a large proportion of these deaths can be attributed to the fact that most victims of the accidents did not get Get timely medical help and first aid.

Traffic accidents happen quickly and unexpectedly. Most of it happens outside of our homes and we could find ourselves in a situation where we could have to waste precious minutes waiting for help and support.

Many lives could have been saved if immediate first aid had been given in the first few minutes of the accident.

First aid measures increase the victim's chances of survival and prevent lifelong disabilities from occurring. These three reasons are enough to underline the importance of basic road safety awareness and knowledge of first aid.

We're going to look at each of these life saving steps everyone should be aware of in the event of a traffic accident.

Arrival at the scene of the accident

If you encounter a traffic accident, the first thing to do is check that the scene is safe and accessible before attempting first aid. Although our instincts may prompt us to call for help, it is of great help to take a few seconds or minutes to quickly review the scene and assess the situation in order to provide important information for the information services.

  • Find out how many vehicles were involved in the accident
  • The number of occupants per vehicle

The scene rating ensures that you are also in a safe situation. The last thing you need to be on the list of victims.

Check for injuries

If you've been in an accident and injured yourself, check for injuries or excessive bleeding first. When you are conscious, try to assess the current situation and see if you can move your arms and limbs and / or if you have dizziness or other mild symptoms. By doing self-assessment, you can determine whether you are fit enough to help others and not further causing your injuries.

Look at other victims

Once you've done a self-assessment and are fit enough to help, look for the other victims and see the extent of their injuries. Use the primary first aid survey when deciding who to prioritize.

The primary survey is the first process you go through when you encounter an accident. This is the fastest way to find out how to treat life-threatening conditions in order of priority.

A primary survey will help you keep in mind the necessary steps and prevent you and the person from getting hurt. The DRSABCD guide can be used in the primary survey: Hazard, Response, Respiratory, Respiratory and Circulatory.

Call the emergency services

After you've done a quick assessment of the scene and checked for injuries, call Triple Zero 000 for help or ask those around you to make the call if you can't.

Immediately call an ambulance or emergency services to notify them of the incident. Make all information requests available to the dispatcher to the best of your knowledge.

The emergency dispatcher will ask for your name, the victim's name (if available), their age range, and your phone number in case the authorities need more information from you later.

You will be asked to provide the information you know about the emergency – such as what vehicles are, whether the victims are not breathing, etc.

Let them know exactly where the emergency took place. When the information is available, give them the street name, city, mile markers, road signs, and any information you can think of so first responders know how and where to find you.

Do exactly what the emergency dispatcher asks you to do. While you wait for the EMS, you will be guided through the next steps or if there is a need to do CPR and / or take the victim to the nearest medical facility.

Help for the victims

1. Check the airways

We all know that breathing is an absolute necessity in a person's life. In a traffic accident, it is important to check the victim's airway to make sure the person is breathing properly.

If the person has stopped breathing, check their mouth for blockages. Use your index and middle fingers to remove the obstruction and clear the airway.

2. Perform lifesaving techniques

First, check the person's chest to see if it is rising and falling. If there is no pulse and no signs of breathing, perform CPR immediately. CPR helps restart the circulatory and respiratory systems so that the person can breathe normally again.

When performing CPR …

  • Make sure the person's back is on a firm surface before placing your crossed fingers on their chest.
  • Press about 2 inches (2 cm) on the chest for chest compression. Repeat and perform at least 30 compressions at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. To make it easy, slide it to the beat of the Bee Gees song "Stayin 'Alive".
  • Gently tilt the back of the person's head and lift their chin to open their airways. Continue rescue breaths until you can see the chest rise.
  • Bring the victim's body to the recovery position (on its side) to protect the airway and support the neck to prevent further injury while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

3. Treat bleeding wounds

Most traffic accident injuries are associated with bleeding. The bleeding can be stopped by continuously applying pressure to the open wound with a clean cloth or soft pillow. Press down with your palms. Once the bleeding has stopped, you can treat the injury.

4. Dealing with spinal injuries (suspicion of spinal injuries always)

In the event of a traffic accident, neck and spinal injuries are expected. If the doctor hasn't unlocked the victim, always suspect a spinal injury. Note if the person's neck is usually not in place. If it doesn't, it is best not to move it unless it is in imminent danger (road traffic). Rough handling or movement of the victim with suspected neck and spine injuries can cause more damage and even death.

5. Keep the victim warm

research proves that core and skin temperatures can drop dramatically in the event of severe injury. Hence, the reason the victims feel excessively cold after the accident is because of shock.

Keeping them warm right after the incident is critical to their survival. Use a jacket, blanket, sweater, or whatever is available in the scene.


At some point many of us will witness or be involved in an accident or medical emergency. To prevent fatal road accidents from occurring in the country, we need to know how to deal with road accidents.

Knowing what to do, when and who to call during a traffic accident can potentially save lives.

About the author:

Sharon McCullochSharon McCulloch is an experienced nurse and first aid trainer. She heads her first aid training organization on The Melbourne First Aid Course.

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