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Idiots driving dangerously past accidents (Southern Cross Drive and Chave Street)

By Jonathon Reynolds - 24 July 2008 27

Location of cars involved in accidentI was heading Eastbound on Southern Cross Drive just before 6pm this evening (23rd July) and saw the aftermath of what appeared to be a single car accident on the other side of the road (Westbound) – this was the intersection of Southern Cross Drive and Chave Street (Holt)

What had caught my eye was a guy in the middle of the road waving furiously in attempt to warn oncoming westbound traffic that there had been an accident. I did a U turn just up the road and parked my car about 50 metres back from the intersection (blue dot) and put my hazard lights on (a) to provide some warning that there was a problem up ahead and hopefully slow the traffic down and (b) to force traffic to the centre lane to avoid the car (red dot – car 1) that was nose in to the curb and blocking the curb-side lane.

The guy that was doing all the waving had called for an ambulance and asked me to check that the lady who was sitting in car 1 was alright as she was obviously dazed. I spoke with the lady and reassured her that assistance was on the way and used my mobile so that she could call her husband. Fortunately a trained nurse pulled up and was able to assess the situation properly.

Whilst this was all happening I was amazed at the behaviour of the drivers going past the accident. I swear people were speeding up to get past and squeezing and jostling to get into the single lane. There was a lot of wreckage strewn across the road (large chunks of broken plastic and glass) and I am surprised that there wasn’t another accident the number of times I heard cars locking up their brakes. Unbeknownst to me at the time there was a second car involved (red dot – car 2) that had gone across both lanes and ended up amongst the trees in someones front yard.

Within about 5 minutes, two fire tenders and a police car were onsite and the fireys were attending to the woman in the first car and driver (and possibly passengers) in the second car. 3 minutes later an ambulance arrived – the woman in car 1 was given some oxygen by the paramedics.

I hung around for a couple more minutes before heading off as there was nothing more I could do and the police had the traffic under control by that stage. Besides a big yellow fire engine tender with their halogen spot lights and flashing lights parked across the road is far more effective than a sedan with hazard lights.

A couple of observations:

  1. If you see a car with hazard lights flashing this is not an immediate invitation to speed up and squeeze into a single lane to get around it. They tend to be called “hazard lights” for a reason.
  2. To the guy that was standing in the middle of the road trying furiously waving to warn motorists and slow the traffic down – Sir, you need to be congratulated on what you did, that took balls, and I’m amazed you didn’t end up a statistic yourself.
  3. Can anyone suggest how I go about putting myself on a proper First Aid course. I’d much rather be able to assist properly next time I’m in a similar situation. I felt somewhat awkward and helpless as all I could do was reassure the lady in the first car that help was on the way.

What’s Your opinion?


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27 Responses to
Idiots driving dangerously past accidents (Southern Cross Drive and Chave Street)
PBO 1:35 pm 24 Jul 08

Cannot stress how handy it is to have a First Aid Kit available. Many years ago i was doing some work in the basement of Calvary Hospital and i badly cut up my hand on one of their linen trolleys. Within an instant there was a large pool of blood and some minor veinous spray, do you think that there is a first aid kit anywhere in the basement/ground floor of Calvary? No there is not. I had to go to the emergency room (which happened to be empty) and wait for fifteen minutes to be attended. Two days after that i got the bill and i was an employee of Calvary.

So to cut it short, always have a First Aid Kit handy

Doctor Evil 1:18 pm 24 Jul 08

All true Peter, but it’s a bit like sex education at school, no substitute for the real thing 😉

peterh 1:08 pm 24 Jul 08

Footloose said :

You can do the St Johns Ambulance course but, if your like me, you’ll probably be too nervous to ever use everything you learn there. Its handy information to know and I myself would use it if I was, say, in the bush/somewhere remote and there were no emergency services around. Otherwise, I like to leave the serious stuff to the professionals.
You’ve done a great thing by 1)just stopping and 2)talking to the driver.
Having been one of the first on the scene of an accident on two occasions, I’ve been delegated the task of talking to the injured both times. It helps with the treatment of shock, a condition that is pretty much suffered by everyone in an accident. And it’s not easy either; what do you discuss with someone who was going skiing and now has suspected spinal injuries?

footloose, you don’t even notice that you were nervous about doing it. you just find that you have assessed any danger, checked that the accident victim can respond, their airway is clear, they are not slumped over and going blue, etc, etc.

you just do it. you don’t notice, you just get in there and help out as best you can. If you have a first aid certificate, at least you know what to look out for for basic triage. You probably won’t be able to recognise internal bleeding, or fractured bones (unless they have broken through the flesh), but you will be able to assist someone, ensuring that they are at least sort of comfortable.

if you have learned first aid, carry a kit in the boot of your car. (I have mine next to my fire extinguisher – spare, main one is under a seat in easy reach)

Have a first aid kit in the garage, and the medicine cupboard. i have one on my belt for bushwalking.

Doctor Evil 12:36 pm 24 Jul 08

JR – if you are serious about attaining the skills to apply in these situations, by all means do a first aid course. But, as someone has already pointed out, learning them in a classroom and dealing with a real world emergency are two very different things.

Do you have kids, or friends with kids? Do they play sport?

Even if you don’t, there are heaps of sporting clubs around canberra that are usually desperate for first aid volunteers. They will often cover or at least subsidise the course costs, and in most cases they will usually place you with an experienced first aider until you get the confidence and experience to fly solo.

League, union, soccer, etc – take your pick. All you need is a couple of spare hours each weekend….

BenMac 12:15 pm 24 Jul 08

I organised our Level 2 (Senior First Aid) through Allens Training (02) 4822 8066, based out of in Goulburn but they do courses in Canberra fairly frequently and were cheaper than St John’s at the time

My employer uses Allens as our First Aid trainer. We also need a Level 2 as part of our work, and have to do a CPR refresher every year. Not sure about price, but the woman who comes from Golbourn (can’t remember her name) is very good.

Skidbladnir 11:23 am 24 Jul 08

While everyone remembers St John’s for doing first aid courses, its like remembering that only Woolworth’s sells groceries.

I organised our Level 2 (Senior First Aid) through Allens Training (02) 4822 8066, based out of in Goulburn but they do courses in Canberra fairly frequently and were cheaper than St John’s at the time.

Good work though. 🙂

Spectra 10:54 am 24 Jul 08

Work paid for my St John’s course (after we passed the magic number of employees requiring an official first aid officer), and it was pretty good.

Footloose – you are quite right that, wherever possible, it should be left the professionals, but the whole point of the course is to be able to keep someone alive long enough for professionals to arrive. One of the things they drill into you on the course is that one of your first actions should be to make sure an ambulance is on its way. But your actions during the 5 minutes waiting for it could make all the difference.

JR – as has been said, it sounds like you pretty much did everything right anyway (though I would still encourage you to go on a St John’s course). If they’re talking to you, not in any immediate danger, and not obviously bleeding or what have you, then getting an ambulance and reassuring them is pretty much all anyone with a first aid certificate would have done. Good job. It’s good to know that not everyone on the road is a complete tosser 🙂

Wino – hehe – “crash” course….

Aurelius 10:52 am 24 Jul 08

JR, sounds like you did the best in the circumstances. Thumper’s right – a St John’s course is a great investment, even if you never have to use it.
As for the standard of drivers, it seems that having a drivers licence is a permit to become totally self-absorbed and impatient. There’s little that can be done about this that doesn’t involve a firearm and is likely to upset those guys with the flashing blue lights on their roofracks.

Wino 10:35 am 24 Jul 08
jakez 10:21 am 24 Jul 08

Packer whackers?

smokey4 9:56 am 24 Jul 08

I will add a little to Thumper who is on the money.

If unconcious the get the persons head back if it has rolled forward. Many people die from the lack of this simple treatment. If non breathing etc then DRABC.

Get a level 2 first aid certificate. Check work as they may sponsor you. Some outdoor clubs organise accredited training courses through St Johns, Red Cross or other accredited trainers. Last time I did one they included training in “packer whackers” etc

Thumper 9:20 am 24 Jul 08

Footloose,

you just talk about anything. By talking and getting a response you are monitoring the patient and can judge if they may be slipping into unconciousness, or whatever.

Do a first aid course, it’s worth it.

Footloose 9:17 am 24 Jul 08

You can do the St Johns Ambulance course but, if your like me, you’ll probably be too nervous to ever use everything you learn there. Its handy information to know and I myself would use it if I was, say, in the bush/somewhere remote and there were no emergency services around. Otherwise, I like to leave the serious stuff to the professionals.
You’ve done a great thing by 1)just stopping and 2)talking to the driver.
Having been one of the first on the scene of an accident on two occasions, I’ve been delegated the task of talking to the injured both times. It helps with the treatment of shock, a condition that is pretty much suffered by everyone in an accident. And it’s not easy either; what do you discuss with someone who was going skiing and now has suspected spinal injuries?

DJ 9:01 am 24 Jul 08

Sounds like you did your best. Did you leave your contact details with Police? I am sure they would thank you for your efforts.

Unfortunately this kind of thing isn’t restricted to the ACT… my experiences have the drivers in Perth firmly on the top of my list of poor drivers. I actually sold my bike because I was bumped into on-comming traffic at lights by idiot WA drivers (2 occasions).

Thumper 8:48 am 24 Jul 08

Contact St Johns. It’s a two day course and you’ll learn enough to keep someone alive.

You’ll probably find that you did the right thing in simply reassuring the victim.

Another point, don’t stand in the middle of the road wving, you’ll get mowed down yourself. One of the first things about first aid is Danger, that is, check that there is no danger to yourself. No point having two poeple down, the ambos don’t like it.

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