Ask a trooper: After freeway accident, move to safety while waiting for trooper
By: Mike LeDoux, Minnesota State Patrol
Q: A friend of mine recently had the misfortune of being involved in a motor vehicle accident on the freeway in the Duluth area and told the other driver involved that they should pull off the freeway to a safer location while waiting for the trooper to respond. The other driver was reluctant to move the vehicle and insisted that they should remain at the scene of the incident until law enforcement arrives. What does the State Patrol recommend?
A: Kudos to your friend for thinking about their safety and the safety of others as well. We encourage motorists to move their vehicles to a place of safety while they await the arrival of law enforcement. All too often, secondary accidents result because passing motorists becoming distracted while passing the accident scene. During the winter, area troopers and local law enforcement may be inundated with calls for service during snowstorms, dramatically increasing response times to accidents.
The other driver’s reluctance to move may have been out of fear that the responding trooper would have difficulty investigating the accident and determining the cause. I can assure you that this fear is unfounded. The responding officer will interview the parties involved and examine the damage to the vehicles, just as it would have been done at the scene, only in a safer environment. I would, however, recommend the exchange of driver’s licenses between the drivers and the accurate recording of the license plate number in the event you become separated before pulling off the freeway or highway.
In the event the vehicles are not able to be moved from the road, we ask that you remain in the vehicle with your seatbelt on, or if possible, move to a place of safety off the roadway. On many occasions, I have arrived on scene of an accident and found the involved parties standing between their damaged vehicles in the roadway discussing the accident. Please do not do that! I would also remind motorists not to use their cruise control during inclement weather because it may cause the vehicle to lose control as it tries to maintain speed on a slippery road surface.
State Trooper Mike LeDoux, a 17-year veteran of the State Patrol, is stationed in Duluth.