This week a Houston Police Officer was killed while investigating an accident that had took place earlier that night – a drunk driver ignored the barrier and police cruiser at the scene of the accident and struck the officer with his car. In another recent car accident, three people were seriously injured when a car slammed into an accident scene minutes after it happened.
Both accidents are a reminder that traffic accident scenes are a dangerous place to be, and that all drivers should have a heightened awareness when approaching and driving past car accident scenes. While it is always tempting to rubberneck and look at a car accident, nothing good can come from it – in the past, rubbernecking drivers have caused rear-end accidents or even slammed into ambulances rushing to get injured car accident victims to the hospital.
What should you do when approaching the scene of a car accident?
• Slow down. This is the single most important action you can take to help prevent more traffic accidents. Be prepared for traffic to come to a sudden stop, and put on your hazard lights if you are going slower than 35 miles per hour on a highway or interstate.
• Resist the urge to look. As human, we are naturally curious, but in this case, curiosity can only make the situation worse. Keep your eyes on the road and be aware that other drivers around you may be distracted by the accident.
• Be prepared for detours and lane changes. Many accidents that take place at the scenes of recent accidents happen because drivers are not paying attention to closed roads, temporary barriers, or lane changes. Be on the lookout for changes in traffic flow, and be prepared to take an alternate route.
• Realize that where there is an accident, there are also emergency vehicles. Even after you have passed an accident scene, emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, or police cars could be approaching or leaving the scene.