March 5, 1973

First Aid for Drivers

Author Affiliations

From the Coweambah Clinic and Myall Valley Institute for Regional Research, Tea Gardens, New South Wales, Australia.

JAMA. 1973;223(10):1151-1153. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220100045011

It is a sad fact that victims of accidents continue to die on our roads because people do not know what to do when confronted with traffic injuries. The best hospital is of no use if the patient is already dead or beyond help. This, in Australia, is highlighted by the fact that most road deaths occur on highways (two thirds in New South Wales) and often far from the nearest properly staffed and equipped hospital. Under these conditions the lives of victims can depend on the right measures taken by a passerby, because he has a most important weapon in his hand— time.

Fix the Time.  A glance at the clock is the first thing anyone arriving at an accident should do. In the excitement, time slips away quickly and it is very difficult later to pinpoint the time of the accident. Witnesses vary greatly in their recollection. Yet