First on scene and witnesses of road trauma

If you have witnessed or given assistance at the scene of a serious road incident, it is important to be aware of the range of feelings, thoughts and responses you may have. Individuals may have reactions that may be hard to manage and confusing for them and those that are close to them.

Common reactions include flashbacks, sleeplessness, uncomfortable physical sensations and symptoms, social withdrawal, irritability, and strong emotions such as anger or guilt – just to name a few.

These are all normal human responses to a traumatic event, and there is usually a natural recovery that occurs over time. However, for some people that can be a slow process and can take months or even years.

It is important to seek support from family and friends who are able to listen without trying to fix it. If you find yourself alone, or your symptoms persist, it can be helpful to speak to a professional such as your GP, a counsellor, psychologist or a social worker.