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First aid for road incidentsCar

This month is National Road Victims Month and the start of the school summer holidays when more people will be travelling. Have a read of our first aid advice in the event of a road incident.

Provide first aid treatment to those with life-threatening injuries before treating others and call 999 or 112 for emergency help as soon as possible.

Making the area safe:

  • • Park safely away from the incident site and put on your hazard lights.
  • • Call 999 or 112.
  • • Put on a high-vis jacket if you have one and put out warning triangles at least 45m from the incident in each direction.
  • • Watch out for physical dangers such as traffic.

Assessing casualties:

  • • Quickly assess any casualties by carrying out the primary survey.
  • • Deal first with those who have life-threatening injuries.
  • • Always assume that any injured casualty in a vehicle has a neck injury, and if possible, treat casualties in the position that you find them, supporting the head and neck continuously and wait for emergency services to arrive.
  • • Search the area to make sure you do not overlook any casualty who may have been thrown from the vehicle or wandered away.
  • • Ask bystanders for help.

Primary survey:

  • • Danger - is it safe to approach?
  • • Response - can the casualty respond to you?
  • • Airway - tilt the head back and check that the airway is open and clear.
  • • Breathing - look, listen and feel for about 10 seconds. If unresponsive and not breathing, carry out CPR.
  • • Circulation - check for severe bleeding. If bleeding, control the bleed.

If the casualty is unresponsive and not breathing, you will need to begin CPR immediately.


  • • Do not leave the casualty.
  • • Use a defibrillator if available.
  • • Give 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute.
  • • Give 2 rescue breaths - if unable or unwilling just give chest compressions.
  • • Repeat - continue to give 30 compressions and 2 breaths until help arrives.

If the casualty is bleeding severely, you will need to carry out the following advice immediately.

Severe bleeding

  • • Apply direct pressure to the wound.
  • • Secure dressing with a bandage to maintain pressure.
  • • Treat for shock if you are able.
  • • Support the injury.

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