Protecting those who protect us

During National Traffic Incident Response Week, WisDOT’s social media campaign features first responders urging Wisconsin drivers to take extra caution when approaching an incident

Release date: November 9, 2020

Every year, an average of more than 145,000 traffic crashes happen throughout the State of Wisconsin. Many of these crashes create a need for emergency response because of property damages or urgent medical needs.

Governor Tony Evers proclaimed November 9-15, 2020 as Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) joins other organizations in a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the important, dangerous job of crash response.

“First responders have no choice but to work dangerously close to moving traffic. We want to make sure that every one of them goes home to their families at the end of their shift,” WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “The single best thing you can do to help in that effort, is to move over and slow down when you see emergency lights.”

There are steps motorists can take to help protect our first responders. 

  • Move Over/slow down when passing by an incident scene to provide a protective buffer for responders, and the motorists behind you.    
  • If you can “Steer It, Clear It.” Many drivers think they should not move their car if they are involved in a fender-bender or crash.  If (and only if) your car is drivable and there are no injuries, you should move your car to the shoulder or nearby safe place off of the road before calling for help. 
  • Plan ahead. Know before you go with 511wi.gov for updates on road conditions and incidents. 
  • Visit wisconsindot.gov/staysafe to learn more about safe driving tips, links to best practices for winter road safety, and the law.

With the winter driving season beginning to take shape, Traffic Incident Response Week is a timely reminder about the need for every driver to plan ahead, be patient and exercise additional caution on the road. WisDOT asks that interested parties join the discussion on social media using hashtags #StaySafeWI as well as the national campaign’s hashtags:

  • #MoveOver
  • #SlowDown 
  • #MoveOverSlowDown

Upcoming highlights

WisDOT has partnered with emergency responders from around the state to produce special messages on traffic incident safety that will be included in the department’s social media starting Monday, November 9. Individuals featured include:

  • Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy Benjamin Cmelak
  • Dane County Sheriff Deputy Eric Novotny
  • Town of Peshtigo Fire Department Volunteer James Matthews
  • Madison Tow Truck Driver John Van
  • Sun Prairie Tow Truck Driver Todd Menzel
  • Wisconsin State Patrol, Deforest Post, Sgt. Adam Zoch
  • Wisconsin State Patrol, Eau Claire Post, Trooper Ashley Morales

About Traffic Incident Response Week

National Traffic Incident Response Week was designated by the Federal Highway Administration, with administration and support from the Transportation Incident Management (TIM) Network. The goal of National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week is, for the fourth year, to reach out to every responder, and to every driver, and to every passenger, to make it clearer that every person has a role to play.  

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov