Accident management

Having been in a near fatal collision myself, where a man 4 times over the UK drink drive limit hit my stationary car at over 80mph. This post rings a few bells with me.
Rose Pell explains her role in helping people to cope with the aftermath of an RTC
‘I think I’m going crazy!’ ‘I’ve always been able to cope’. ‘Why can’t I get over this?’
I frequently hear these words when people come to see me after they have been involved in a road traffic incident, irrespective of its severity. For some people a crash can be a life-changing event and even a minor bump can cause fear and anxiety about returning to driving or being a passenger.
I am the Manager of RUSS (Road User Support Service) and with the aid of a Team of counsellors and ADIs (Approved Driving Instructors) we professionally support people who are finding it hard to come to terms with the aftermath of a collision, whether they are drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, witnesses or family members.
The psychological and practical treatment is available to anyone, irrespective of who was to blame.
I initially explain to clients that everyone’s experience of a crash is unique to them, no-one else will feel exactly as they do. Managing thoughts and reactions that are out of their normal range of everyday emotions can be very challenging, scary and confusing. There can also be a feeling of not being wholly in control. So many factors determine how a person reacts and recovers from such incidents. These include how vulnerable they felt at the time of the crash, the severity or perception of any injuries sustained, behaviour of others involved – which also includes the emergency services, their personal support system, and even parental messages.
You may know someone who is suffering after a road traffic incident who may have one or more, and perhaps even all, of the following symptoms:
Flashbacks and/or intrusive thoughts, sleep disturbance, impaired concentration, lethargy, mood swings, anger, irritability, social withdrawal, reduced work performance, general anxiety and fearfulness. Sometimes people avoid, as far as is possible, driving or journeying as a passenger and maybe prefer to walk or utilise public transport. All of these are normal reactions. Some symptoms will settle down with the passage of time, others may require professional intervention.
Obviously not everyone who is involved in a collision will experience full blown PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or even necessarily need help from RUSS. However, for those whose symptoms persist RUSS is able to provide tailor-made emotional assistance with very well -qualified and experienced counsellors to help resolve any lasting trauma. In addition empathic and skilled ADIs are able to help drivers and riders regain their confidence. Clients who attend RUSS assistance are treated with the upmost respect and care.
RUSS was set up in 1997 and to date has professionally and appropriately assisted over 8,000 people. This specialist help is currently avail- able in Devon, Somerset and Dorset. Owing to an identified need for such a service, in addition to proof of efficacy of treatment, there are plans to expand to other areas in the South West.

Share Button