How to deal with Road Traffic Accidents

Unfortunately, serious road traffic accidents remain a daily occurrence through-out Ireland. In total, 336 people died as a result in 2007. As if that alone is not bad enough, remember for everyone who dies, many more are left with life altering disabilities.

First, prevention is always better than cure. The most common factors that lead to fatalities on our roads are speed, alcohol, fatigue, failure to wear a seatbelt, and failure to alter driving for weather conditions. All of these factors are easy to avoid!! Never take a risk.

While we train for all eventualities, St. John Ambulance, Cork City, thankfully does not deal with car accidents regularly due to the nature of event we work at. However, many of our members have come across accidents in their daily lives. In such a situation, our members’ key priority is the same as that of any member of the public, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY AND STAY SAFE!!

We offer the following general advice should you be involved in or witness a serious car accident:

  1. Dial 9-9-9 immediately. If there is a fire, let the operator know immediately.

  2. Be as detailed as possible about your location.

  3. Give the operator an idea of how many cars were involved. Also, try to give an estimate of how many people were involved, and only if you can, how many are seriously injured.

  4. If you are not in a position to make the call yourself, ask someone else to do so. But ensure that you ask that person to come back to you and confirm that help is on the way.

  • Stay Safe.

  1. Your primary concern should be for your own safety. Avoid putting yourself or others at risk at all costs. Be mindful of traffic. Obviously, you will not be able to help anyone if you get injured yourself. Also, you may delay ambulance personnel attending to the already injured.

  • Calm and reassure those who are injured.

  1. Tell them that help is on the way.

  2. Ask them not to move and stay as still as possible. This will prevent further injury. (Obviously, if there is an eminent danger from fire or another source, it may be necessary for a casualty to move but this should only be done as a last resort.)

  3. Keep talking to the casualty.

  • When the emergency services do arrive, do not get in the way. Move back to a safe distance and allow them to work uninterrupted.


We recommend all drivers complete a basic first aid course. St John Ambulamce, Cork City, regularly offers this course. To arrange to attend one, contact us. Courses are also offered by units of St. John Ambulance through-out Ireland and by our sister organizations, Order of Malta, Irish Red Cross and the Civil Defense.