Law of the month

May – After a crash, motorists advised to move their vehicles out of traffic if possible

Any traffic crash—even a minor fender-bender—can be nerve wracking and chaotic for everyone involved. However, motorists involved in a crash need to maintain their composure and take steps for their own safety and the safety of others on the road.

After a crash, the first step is to check for injuries and call 911 if medical assistance is needed. If no one has been injured, motorists need to follow the steps contained in the “Steer It, Clear It Law.”

The “Steer It, Clear It Law” requires motorists involved in crashes to move their vehicle to a safe location away from traffic if no one is injured and it can be driven. The vehicles should be moved to a location, such as a highway shoulder, a side road, an on or off ramp, a parking lot or a crash investigation site where they will obstruct traffic as little as possible. Once the vehicle is moved to a safe location, drivers can contact law enforcement and exchange information. The Steer it, Clear It Law also grants immunity from civil damages to any person who removes a crashed vehicle from traffic as well as debris in the roadway or other obstruction.

“Vehicles involved in crashes that are left in the roadway contribute to traffic back-ups that may cause additional crashes,” says Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent J.D. Lind. “Moving the vehicles away from traffic also helps law enforcement officers and other responders to quickly remove disabled vehicles and clear the crash scene so that normal traffic can resume.”

The State Patrol offers the following additional advice for motorists involved in a crash:

  • If your vehicle is disabled, do not risk injury by trying to push it out of traffic by yourself.
  • If your vehicle cannot be moved, stay inside with your seat belt fastened for protection until responders arrive.
  • To help prevent additional crashes, warn oncoming traffic of the crash by turning on your hazard lights or raising the hood of the vehicle


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