Good Samaritans Carry Heavy Risks Aiding Traffic Accident Victims
A Detroit doctor recently died from injuries sustained from a secondary accident on I-96 near the Davison freeway. Forty-seven-year-old Cynthia Ray had stopped to help passengers in an accident that caused a vehicle to overturn and trap six teenagers inside. 17-year-old Sean English and his parents also stopped to see how they could help. English was involved in the crash alongside Ray, and had to have part of a foot amputated after being hit by a young driver, suspected of drinking, who lost control near the crash site.
Our thoughts are with the family of Dr. Ray and we wish Sean English a healthy recovery.
Stopping At A Crash Scene Can Cause Secondary Accidents
While it may not always be the best decision to stop and help victims of a car crash, there are many people who will want to stop, get out of their vehicle, and rush to help no matter what. It is important those people understand the major risk involved in making this decision.
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) estimates that 18 percent of freeway traffic related fatalities are attributed to secondary crashes like the one Ray and English were involved in. In addition, secondary crashes can contribute up to 50 percent of congestion in urban areas and raise the risk of injuries to others and cause additional minor traffic accidents.
If You Stop, Stop Safely
If you do stop at the scene of an accident to help, it is important you know how to do so safely.
- Pull completely off the road, preferably 100 feet away or more, until you are in a safe zone. Next, turn on your emergency flashers. Before getting out of your vehicle, dial 911 and begin assessing the situation from where you are safely parked, off of the freeway, away from the wreck. Make sure you know the location of the emergency including any freeway on and off ramp information and how many vehicles were involved. From there, follow the operator’s cues.
- Safety officials will not want you to move an injured person unless he or she is in a burning vehicle or in other immediate dangers. Moving someone incorrectly can often make an injury worse. So this means it is in everyone’s best interest for you to be in the safest place – inside your vehicle – parked in the safety zone, 100 feet or more away, waiting for emergency responders.
- If you have dialed 911, and you feel the need to get out of your vehicle to help still, remember to always exit your vehicle with extreme caution and move slowly. Do not ever step into traffic or put your own life at risk to help. Your job should be to review the situation to better inform emergency responders when they arrive. Keep your distance from the crash vehicles and don’t touch anyone who was involved. If you do see victims walking around, help by guiding them off the road and into a safe zone.
Detroit, Michigan Car Accident Attorneys – You Pay Nothing Until We Settle
If you or someone you know has been injured in a secondary crash or any other kind of motor vehicle accident in Michigan, let them know the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg can help.
Please call Lee Free and speak to our car accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your car accident case.