What happens after a road accident takes place? What’s the next most important thing to do?
Pedestrians and bystanders at the scene of an accident, are supposed to move over to help the victims. But, more often than not, bystanders don’t try to assist the victims instead, they either ignore and walk away, record the event on their phones, or just stand by and watch what happens next. This phenomenon is known as the Bystander Effect.
It is a frequent occurrence for bystanders to experience this phenomenon during an emergency because, not only are emergencies unusual and unpredictable, the type of action required in an emergency differs from situation to situation and requires immediate action. Also, the fear of causing further harm, while trying to assist the patient and maybe getting punished or held responsible if the help fails is another factor that’s responsible for this.
How do we tackle this condition?
Here are a few tips to beat The Bystander Effect:
- Imagine if it was your brother/sister or your loved one lying there. This will help you overcome the shock & act quickly.
- Calling out words loudly like “This person needs help” can help break the shock and effects of being a bystander in a crowd, thereby helping to mobilize assistance.
- Call out specific commands until the people around respond, for example, “ The man in the blue shirt, please call an ambulance service or the man with the yellow jeans on, please help direct incoming vehicles away from this axis. Does anyone know first aid here?”.This can also help others break out of this state.
Many people fail to act because they fear hurting the victim further. But in reality, without bystander assistance, an accident victim sometimes has a very low chance of survival.
By learning how to recognize and counteract the bystander effect within ourselves, we can react quickly and save a life. Always remember that whatever little help you can give, has the potential to save lives.