Do we have a social responsibility to stop for someone else’s traffic accident?
You see an accident happen in front of you and off to the right lane. There was a loud screeching of tires then you heard two loud crashes, as you first saw a truck fail to stop in time for a car in front of you in the right lane and then you see another vehicle behind the truck collide with the truck due to the sudden stop of the accident. What do you do now? You see people exiting the vehicles so it seems that the drivers and other occupants are physically alright. So should you just drive away since there doesn’t seem to be any injuries and just let the parties take care of the situation themselves? Not your problem right?
What if you were in that accident? What would you want witnesses to do? Drive away or stop to assist and give their observations as to what happened to the parties involved? In the situation above, if you drove away, the driver of the truck might just say that he was rear-ended and that caused him to collide with the car in front of him. You saw what happened and that just isn’t true. However, because you didn’t provide your statement as to what happened, the driver of the truck might just get away with having caused an accident — and putting all the blame on the car behind him.
That’s why stopping at the scene of an accident to render assistance as needed and providing witness statements (to the police or just the parties involved if law enforcement is not present) is so crucial. It makes it much less likely that one of the drivers will fabricate factual events to appear innocent. Also, in the event there are only two drivers who disagree as to the circumstances of an accident, witness statements are absolutely necessary to facilitate an early resolution to the incident without having to resort to court intervention.
So help your fellow drivers out. Stop, render assistance, and tell them what you saw. Give the drivers your name and phone number so that their insurance companies can call you to get a statement. Your statement will carry a lot of weight with the insurance companies, as it relates to causation, because they see independent witnesses as unbiased (meaning they have nothing to gain from falsifying testimony).
It could be you next time, standing by your car, hood up, engine smoking, hoping someone would stop to say they saw what happened. Let’s be that everyday hero for each other.