Bystander Effect – Why Road Accident Victims Are Ignored And How To Overcome It

The Logical Indian

July 24th, 2015

In a country where 16 people become victims of road accidents every HOUR, road safety is a primary issue. But what happens after a road accident takes place? What’s the next important thing?

Pedestrians and bystanders come into the scene now. The responsibility falls on them, as dutiful citizens, to help the accident victim. But many times we see that people don’t come to the aid of the victim; they either choose to ignore and walk away or they just stand still and watch what happens next. This is a phenomenon known as the Bystander Effect.

The Bystander Effect, or Bystander Apathy, is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help.

Tips To Beat The Bystander Effect:

  • Imagine if it was your brother/sister lying there. This will help you overcome the shock & act quickly.
  • Call out specific commands until the bystanders respond, such as, “YOU IN THE GREEN PANTS, DO YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE? GOOD! CALL THE POLICE! YOU WITH THE WHITE HAT, DIRECT TRAFFIC AWAY FROM THE ACCIDENT! WATCH OUT FOR CARS! DOES ANYONE KNOW FIRST AID? YOU DO? GREAT! YOU, COME AND HELP ME!”
  • Remember that whatever little help you can give has the potential to save lives.


In times of calamity, the help of fellow-humans acts as a beacon of light. Stories of strangers helping a person involved in an accident move and inspire us all. For this to happen we need to act, we need to train our minds to beat the Bystander Effect.

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