After a road crash, people impacted by road trauma often experience common reactions. If you were a driver, passenger, witness or assisted at the scene of a road crash it is normal to experience a range of upsetting thoughts, feelings and reactions. These may include:
Confusion – Worrying about family and friends – Constantly thinking about the event – Fear of driving – Easily distracted – Forgetting things – Thoughts of harming – yourself or others
Shock – Disbelief – Fear – Sadness – Grief – Overwhelmed – Anxious – Guilt – Anger – Shame – Helplessness
⚙ Common behaviours
Avoiding driving, reminders of the crash or social activities, – Trouble functioning at work – Relationship difficulties – Eating more or less than usual
🤍 Physical reactions
Trembling – Sweating – Dizziness – Crying – Rapid breathing – Poor balance and coordination – Fatigue – Disrupted sleep – Nightmares – Fast heart rate
Helping Your Recovery
- Recognise you have been through a stressful event.
- Spend time with people who care about you.
- Try to maintain your normal routine.
- Avoid using alcohol or drugs.
- Plan regular times to eat, sleep, and exercise.
- Allow yourself time to adjust.
- Have someone you trust answer questions on your behalf.
- Don’t feel pressured to talk about your crash.
- Talk and express your feelings with someone you trust.
- Do things you find relaxing.
- Do things you enjoy to provide relief from thinking of the crash.
After a crash, people often find the most important things for recovery are time, understanding, and support from family and friends. If you are experiencing ongoing or distressing symptoms which are interfering with your usual life, it’s best to seek help from a professional. You can get help from your doctor, a psychologist, or counsellor experienced in grief, loss and trauma.
Road Trauma Support WA is part of a vast network of support services available. These can be viewed below through the e-directory.