Dealing with accidents on a motorway

Published on 8 January 2014

Collisions are an occasional occurrence on the motorways around Ireland, yet when they happen they can be both serious and highly disruptive. Knowing what to do if you are involved in an accident in any situation is very important.

According to the latest figures from the Road Safety Authority’s Road Collision Factbook, there were four fatal collisions on Irish motorways in 2009. Of the 6,615 collisions leading to injury on Irish roads that year, just 135 occurred on motorways.

Despite the relatively low occurrence rate, motorway accidents can be extremely frightening. It’s important that you act to warn other drivers of the accident.

If you are involved in an accident, you can warn other drivers by using your hazard lights. Likewise, if you come upon the scene of an accident or a tailback caused by an accident, you should tell cars behind you that you need to stop by putting on your hazards immediately.

Reflective advance-warning triangles, which must be carried in heavy vehicles and buses, can help warn approaching traffic of accidents ahead. It is important these triangles are placed far enough away from the scene keeping in mind that you do not danger yourself in putting them there, especially when there is fast-moving traffic approaching.

It’s something that many people don’t think about, but carrying a high visibility vest or jacket really is a must, particularly when driving on dark motorways. They will let other road users know you are there.

If you are first at the scene of an accident, call the emergency services at 999 immediately, and get advice from them on how to deal with the incident.

However, if you arrive late to the scene and there are enough people helping, ensure you don’t block the emergency services or any other traffic by pulling in.