It is often more dangerous the first moments after a traffic accident, than during the initial collision. I witnessed a close call Thursday afternoon in Santa Clara, California that reminded me of this.
I was coming out of the lobby of a company I deliver to daily at the intersection of De La Cruz Blvd. and Martin Avenue which runs just west of The San Jose Airport. A two car accident had just happened at that intersecting stop light. I know because I was only in the office five-minutes, and was just returning to my car.
Two badly damaged vehicles were facing south, side by side on the right portion of the intersection and light. Both drivers had been escorted by witnesses to the south lawn of a strip mall across the street, and while dazed and shaken...neither looked seriously injured.
However, I did notice heavy traffic sifting through the intersection at a bumper to bumper pace, passing very close on both sides of the vehicles. It looked like another accident waiting to happen, and almost did!
As the sirens began sounding in the distance, one of the drivers got up from the lawn and began to stagger crookedly toward her car, probably to retrieve something...and came dangerously close to getting struck down by passing motorists.
Luckily, a transportation officer grabbed her just as she was about to stumble and fall. This could have been a disaster that's happened many times before! All it takes is a victim wandering recklessly without realizing they're in shock and/or suffering from a concussion. Add to that rubber-necking drivers who often smash into one another as well as roadside pedestrians.
Years ago I was a passenger during a t-bone collision in East San Jose that left me pretty beat-up and bruised. We were all very lucky, however, I do remember waking up sitting on the curb after blacking out! I also had a caring bystander standing by to catch me after I began to stumble around in the intersection...with a concussion.
Here are a few ways to avoid a potential second or third accident at the same scene. If you're there to actually help out, carefully secure yourself and any victims far away from traffic or other danger....while consoling and comforting them until help arrives.
When driving past an accident, be cautious, courtious and aware of obstacles, pedestrians, the car in front of you, and any traffic instructions. Help out by being careful....and don't rubber-neck! That way we'll always keep it down to just ONE accident, which is bad enough as it is.