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majorrich's avatar

We watched the accident happen, should we have stayed?

Asked by majorrich (12443 points ) May 6th, 2012

We were next in line at a stop light and I inexplicably felt the need to hold back a bit. The car in front of us turned right in front of another car going straight through the intersection, and they tried as best they could to occupy the same space at the same time. I needed to clear the intersection and just went on home. Should we have stayed even though clearly nobody was injured?

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13 Answers

Kardamom's avatar

You should have pulled over and gave each of the “victims” your contact info. They may need you to serve as a witness as to which vehicle was at fault. When there are no witnesses, these kinds of things turn into a he said she said thing and often the party that was not at fault gets screwed over.

john65pennington's avatar

By law, are you forced to stay? No. I would have at least left my name and phone number to give to the innocent party to give to the police.

If this had been you, I know you would have been happy to have a witness on your side.

Blueroses's avatar

Tough call. I usually pull over to give my phone number to the driver I know I saw wasn’t at fault. (Yeah, I witness a lot of stupid accidents in my town) but if a bunch of other people have stopped, I’ll go on my way.

edit: if I am very close to the accident and not the 4th or 5th car behind, I will always jump out and see if I can help and wait for the police.

chyna's avatar

In the few times I have witnessed an accident, I stay and make sure no one is hurt first and foremost.
A witness is always nice to have on your side.

DrBill's avatar

YES, you were still a witness

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ve been the beneficary of someone witnessing an illegal turn just before I got hit by a guy out of nowhere. I always stop if I see what happened.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Did you have to stay? No.

I have witnessed accidents at the stop sign in front of my home. I just call the Police Station and ask to speak to an officer, or email the station with my contact info and write up what I saw.

PurpleClouds's avatar

Yes, you were a witness to the accident. I think people should at least provide their contact info. to the parties and give a statement to the cops.

ETpro's avatar

It’s still not too late to do the right thing. Call the police jurisdiction involved and report what you saw. I had a guy trying to back into a parking space back straight into my car while I was laying on the horn. I got slammed for hitting him because it looked like I rear-ended him. I wasn’t even moving. I was sitting still in traffic. But I had to pay and my insurance got cancelled.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
cazzie's avatar

Depends on where you live, I guess? Where I live, leaving the scene of an accident or ‘failing to assist’ is a crime. You are meant to stop, call emergency services and see if you can help in any way, even if it just directing traffic away or setting up your emergency cones around the scene. Most of our roads are pretty damn desolate places, so it make perfect sense.

I was at the scene of a motorcycle accident once. I didn’t see the man fall, but a car came towards me and flashed his lights at me, so I slowed down as I made the curve and there he was on the ground, the bike fallen in the middle of the road and he was crawling toward the other side of the road. Thankfully, there was a car behind me with a nurse in it, but I stopped, put my emergency lights on and waved down traffic as the nurse assisted the injured man and someone lifted the bike out of the middle of the road. (I couldn’t lift it… I am a tiny wee thing and was even smaller and weaker back then.) I left my telephone number with the people in the car with the nurse and told them what I saw and they had pretty much seen the exact same thing, as they were right behind me.

I was astounded that the car that had come toward me from the other way simply flashed its lights and didn’t stop to help. It was a country highway, with not tonnes of traffic, so that poor biker could have been laying in the road or even run over by a car because he was certainly not on his feet.

I remember learning drivers ed in the US (many many moons ago) and we were taught that people who see accidents happen, even is someone isn’t hurt, are meant to provide contact details or a statement when the police within a certain time frame. I think it was 24 hours or something. So, if you had kids in the car or on the way to an appointment, sure, carry on, but then you do have to ring someone and tell them where you were and what you saw.

I would feel compelled to stop. Bad drivers bug the hell out of me.

majorrich's avatar

I made a call in to the police Department about the accident. They took my statement, but said there were bajillions of people there so I was ok. The person in front of us was cited for failure to yield and the other car was cited for using a cellular phone while driving. (A local ordinance)

ETpro's avatar

@majorrich Good going. I’m giving you a much deserved GA for doing that.

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