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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)
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Ozi 9:41 pm 18 Oct 12

Good work for doing something.

As previously mentioned, the ‘D’ in DRABC stands for Danger and is the first letter for a reason: it is the most important consideration on arriving at an incident. By taking 10 seconds to take a deep breath (“Hands in pockets”) then you can get a much better appreciation of the potential dangers.

There is no point in rushing in if it means you might become a further casualty. In your incident, traffic control and isolation of the incident was the primary concern to remove the danger of some idiot crashing into the wreckage or hitting someone on the road who was trying to help.

Also, I carry a first aid kit, window smasher thing (spring loaded pin to break windows which includes a seatbelt cutter) and reflective triangle with a stand which can be set up on the road to warn people.

peterh 10:41 am 25 Jul 08

Footloose said :

DRABC is basic first aid; I think it should be taught in school – college – if it isnt already. This includes heart massage/mouth to mouth. Anything like adreanalin shots to the heart or defibrillator use is out of my league.

PeterH is correct. When an accident occurs, you have two choices; help or get out of the way. There is nearly always somone who is leading the situation. If you get flagged down, ask how you can help and respond. Someone needs to call the cops; another to do traffic/idiot control. And you need at least two people per injured person to perform (beyond DRABC) amatuer first aid safely and correctly IMHO. Whatever, if theres a hole with blood coming out, of course your going to plug it.

Sitting with the injured is one of the most important jobs. As Thumper said, you are monitoring the person and checking their state of conciousness. Shock is generally the universal injury in accidents and it can cause all sorts of problems if it goes unchecked. No matter how well someone says they are, try and get them to lay down somewhere safe and wait for the emergency crews.

JR, Do your first aid course. Im impressed that you’ve already thought about what to do ‘next time’ you help your fellow man. With more confidence/practice, that awkward helpless feeling subsides.

and always remember, if they are strapped into a chair, and there is no danger, leave them there. if they cannot turn their head, or you think they have a spinal injury, assist them in ensuring that they have their head supported on both sides.

if there is an issue, say a fire in the car or leaking petrol on a hot day, you must assess the situation first. Don’t run in to help, if it means that you may become a casualty. Danger is paramount to any first aid person.

If there is no way to get near the victim, as they are trapped, or the only part of them that you can see is, say, their hand, hold it, after letting them know that they are there. The comfort that this will provide speaks volumes, in the eyes of the victim, there is someone else there who is trying to help.

bigfeet 10:16 pm 24 Jul 08

I learnt the importance of a first aid course when I lived in North West WA. I came upon a car rolled over on the major highway, but we were about 3 hours from any town in either direction, and about 2.5 hours from any mobile phone coverage. The driver was trapped in the car and his wife was lying not far from the car.

All I did basically was stop some bleeding, provide some shade, reassure and send for help. But the course I had done gave me the confidence to apply the bandages to stop bleeding, and to monitor.

It was about 4 hours before qualified help turned up.

Ok…in Canberra, you are probably not going to have to wait more than 15 minutes for an ambulance, but its not inconceivable that , say, heading up to the snow, or going up toward Cowra, or even on the Federal Highway, that it could be up to an hour before any help arrives.

Bundybear 9:23 pm 24 Jul 08

First aid course is a brilliant way to gain enough knowledge to do what it sets out to teach – Emergency First Aid. Which is mostly about having the confidence to help in an emergency situation without killing anyone or getting injured yourself. Go for it. And well done with your preparedness to help and willingness to be directed in how to assist at the scene.

bd84 9:03 pm 24 Jul 08

ant said :

Often you hear remarks about an accident and people “slowing down to rubber neck”. Well, I always slow down if there’s some kind of imbroglio up ahead. I’m not rubber necking, I usually don’t even look. But if there’s cars, wreckage, debris, and people walking around, you got to slow down.

Exactly. But there will always be morons doing whatever they can to avoid it or to get ahead of someone.

ant 8:59 pm 24 Jul 08

Often you hear remarks about an accident and people “slowing down to rubber neck”. Well, I always slow down if there’s some kind of imbroglio up ahead. I’m not rubber necking, I usually don’t even look. But if there’s cars, wreckage, debris, and people walking around, you got to slow down.

Footloose 7:49 pm 24 Jul 08

DRABC is basic first aid; I think it should be taught in school – college – if it isnt already. This includes heart massage/mouth to mouth. Anything like adreanalin shots to the heart or defibrillator use is out of my league.

PeterH is correct. When an accident occurs, you have two choices; help or get out of the way. There is nearly always somone who is leading the situation. If you get flagged down, ask how you can help and respond. Someone needs to call the cops; another to do traffic/idiot control. And you need at least two people per injured person to perform (beyond DRABC) amatuer first aid safely and correctly IMHO. Whatever, if theres a hole with blood coming out, of course your going to plug it.

Sitting with the injured is one of the most important jobs. As Thumper said, you are monitoring the person and checking their state of conciousness. Shock is generally the universal injury in accidents and it can cause all sorts of problems if it goes unchecked. No matter how well someone says they are, try and get them to lay down somewhere safe and wait for the emergency crews.

JR, Do your first aid course. Im impressed that you’ve already thought about what to do ‘next time’ you help your fellow man. With more confidence/practice, that awkward helpless feeling subsides.

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