I drive at night a lot - a lot more than I like to admit to myself. On a normal night I see a few deer,
However, last night as I topped the hill I saw a man standing in the middle of the road - dancing. My first thought was "oh boy, this should be good" then I noticed his car was parked dead center of a giant tree and was not going anywhere any time soon.
It was just a few minutes after midnight, and I knew I may be the only person traveling that particular highway for hours, so I knew (for my own conscious) I had to stop.
While I won't go into details of the accident, because frankly I know very few, I will share a few tips on how to stay safe and still do your civil duty to help a fellow citizen in need.
- Do not get out of the car - while I could see the gentleman's car was definitely messed up, I did not know this guy, nor did I know what he was capable of. I stayed inside my car and directed the man to stay 3 foot away from the window of my car - I told him if you come close I will leave.
- Do not give them your name - you are not required to introduce yourself to the person you are helping. I rolled my window up when I was speaking to the 911 dispatch officer - I gave her my name and phone number, and requested that she stay on the line with me until someone else arrived on the scene of the accident.
- Do not offer to help - I never asked the gentleman if I could help him. I instructed him that I was calling 911 to get some help, but I never offered any assistance to him.
- Do not roll your window all the way down - I know it seemed rude, but I kept my window cracked (about an 1 1/2) with my finger on the button when I needed to speak to him - the rest of the time it was completely up.
- Do not let them know if you have any weapons - letting someone know what you have on you, could only make them want what you have. It is okay to protect yourself, but keep your tools to yourself.
- Ask if they are alone - see if there is someone else in the car, you need to let the authorities know, but also you need to know so you can protect yourself.
- NEVER assume you are safe - for me it was a gentleman who honestly was not completely with it - could have been under the influence of something, but even if it had been a woman and children I would would have treated the situation the same. They may seem okay, but you do not know what you cannot see - it could always be a trap.
Remember, while it is always good to help someone else, you are still the most important person in your own life.
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