Usual Symptons


Usual symptoms following a road traffic incident


Our reaction to a road traffic incident can depend on a number of factors, including how we were feeling at the time of the event, any physical injuries incurred, how the other people involved behaved, our own personality and support system.


Here are some characteristic, and normal, symptoms and reactions


Emotional Reaction

Shock and disbelief

A feeling of helplessness and powerlessness

Anger and irritability




Anxiety and fear



Flashbacks and instrusive thoughts

Confusion and disorientation

Impaired concentration and recall




Poor/disturbed sleep

Hyper-arousal, Hyper-vigilance



Avoidance of reminder and visiting the scene

Social withdrawal

Reduced work performance


Relationship problems


Advice, information and coping strategies following a road traffic incident


Following a road traffic collision it is usual to have a physical and emotional reaction that can last for a long time.


Although each person reacts differently, according to the personality, past experiences and connection to the event, a wide range of common reactions can occur after a person has been involved in a traumatic event.


Some post-crash symptoms may be overwhelming, distressing and distrubing so it is important to talk about what has happened to you and to express your emotions.

For a period of time we may cease to function in our usual way so try to keep life as normal as possible and keep to daily routines.

Avoid the use of alcohol to hide your feelings and do not be afraid to ask for help from professionals, family and friends.


Writing a daily diary of your thoughts can be helpful.


Relaxation techniques

Breathe slowly and rhythmically into the lower part of your abdomen, keeping your chest still

Imagine a peaceful scene such as being on a beach in the sun

Use a relaxation tape/CD


Try to spend time with people who help you to feel good


Treat yourself to some favourite thing each day - e.g. spend time reading a book, watching a film, listening to music, see/phone a friend


Go for a walk, if possible somewhere in naturally calming surroundings