Becoming the victim of a sudden accident focuses the mind like nothing else really does. The sheer unexpectedness of it, sometimes literally a split second which changes your life forever. Things you once took for granted that you would do are suddenly unthinkable. Immediate plans have to be changed, of course, but bit by bit the penny drops that your life hereafter is going to be radically different from that which you had expected.
Had I not discovered this the hard way I would probably never have given too much thought to the work done by charities which exist specifically to help the victims of serious accidents or illnesses. Needing their help, I looked them up and in some cases availed myself of their services. Now that I’m in a position to do so, I like to give them a helping hand whenever I can, whether it be by donating money or by giving of some of my time.
Care After Road Injury
One such group is called SCARD, or Support and Care After Road Death and Injury. Offering practical or emotional help, or even if needs be just a sympathetic ear, it is a friend whenever you need one. Set up in the wake of the tragic death of a young man at the hands of two teenage car thieves rendered incapable by drink and drugs, it was able to offer much-needed support to his grieving family.
RoadPeace is another, which combines a dedicated support service with proactive campaigning work for the reformation of the justice system and a better deal for the victims of road crime, as well as lobbying for measures to make our roads safer for all responsible users.
Brake is an organisation offering victim support, campaigning and awareness projects through local schools and communities. It also offers training to police family liaison officers and other support workers such as health professionals to assist them in working with families who have suffered bereavement due to road accidents.
So Much To Be Done
Road safety means so much to all our lives, but so often we don’t think about it too much unless we or somebody we love become directly affected by it. Pedestrians, cyclists, sensible car drivers and everybody else benefit when rules are followed, safety standards are applied and the protection of the public is treated as a priority.
There are really two distinct aspects to addressing the consequences of road accidents, the first is in offering support and practical help to the victims – and, where applicable, to their loved ones – but the second is in prevention because the most useful strategy of all when dealing with traffic-related injuries is to stop them from happening in the first place. A directed programme of education, and in particular in bringing home to potential perpetrators the horrific consequences of their actions, is every bit as useful as post-incident support, although the latter is of course vitally important just the same.