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Ask a trooper: What to do if involved in a crash

By Jesse Grabow - Minnesota State Trooper

Question: What should a person do if they are involved in a crash?

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Answer: This is a very good question, and I must say that it depends on many factors in each circumstance.

Each situation is different, and the person involved must evaluate the incident and decide on the best course of action to minimize the risk they place themselves in.

If it’s not an injury or serious crash, it may be best to get your vehicle out of the lanes of traffic and to a safe location before exiting or exchanging information with the other driver involved. This may be dependent on the amount of traffic, highway conditions and/or location (curve, hill, blind spot, etc.).

If your vehicle is disabled and you cannot get out of the lanes, you must evaluate what is more dangerous, staying in the vehicle or leaving it and getting to a place of safety on foot.

If you stay in your vehicle, put on your seat belt. If for some reason you’ve lost sight or contact with the other motorist involved in the crash, report that as soon as possible to law enforcement to prevent issues of charges with a hit and run.

If someone in the crash is injured or killed, the law requires that you call the nearest law enforcement agency or 911 as quickly as possible.

If you come upon a crash, and depending on the situation, you should evaluate the incident and decide on the best course of action to minimize the risk you place yourself in.

If you are the first on the scene and have stopped to render aid, park your vehicle well off the roadway away from the crash so it will not be a hazard. Warn other drivers of danger with four-way flashers, flares and flashlights.

If there is personal injury, serious property damage or danger to other motorists at the crash scene, call 911. Be prepared to provide location, such as distance from an intersection or milepost number. Account for all occupants of the vehicles and aid the injured if you are qualified. Do not move injured persons unless they are endangered by traffic, fire or excessive bleeding.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol, at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.

Follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at jesse.grabow@