Car Accidents > Car Safety Guides > ABC Casualty Checks

ABC Casualty Checks - Airways, Breathing, Circulation

The ABC casualty check is a three step process as follows:

If you haven’t been on a first aid training course and do not feel confident in your ability to carry out these treatments then you must not go ahead with them.  See if there are any bystanders who are trained in first aid, or speak with the 999 operator for advice.

Check for bleeding

Excessive bleeding is a major cause of shock and can be fatal if left untreated. To help an injured person who is losing blood you should first check to see where the blood is coming from and ensure there are no foreign bodies in the wound, such as glass or metal. If the wound is clean stem the bleeding by applying direct pressure and, if possible, elevate the body part.

However, if there is a foreign body in the wound then do not apply pressure, but push the sides of the wound together.

Burns & broken bones

Burns should be cooled down by pouring cold water over them for at least 20 minutes, or until the casualty stops complaining of any pain. If you believe the casualty has some broken bones advise them to lie still and keep the injured part(s) supported by a blanket or pillow until an ambulance crew arrives.


Most people involved in a road traffic accident are likely to suffer some degree of shock. When a person is in shock they will usually display symptoms such as dizziness, pale skin and blue lips (similar to blood loss). To help them, you should loosen any tight clothing and keep them warm using a blanket or coat.

Also, make sure you keep their attention by talking to them gently and lay them down if necessary.

First aid kits

It is recommended that all motorists carry a first aid kit in their car. There are many first aid kits available to buy, with products ranging from small travel kits priced between £5 and £10 to more comprehensive boxes for £20 or more.

First aid checklist

See our first aid page for more information on first aid.