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Ask a trooper: Move vehicle if crash could be hazardous to others

Q: I was always under the impression that when you have a car accident you are not supposed to move your vehicle before the police arrive. Is that still true?

A: We hear this frequently from people we come across and yes, you can move your vehicles if no one is injured or killed and you are in a location where there is a danger of you or someone else getting hurt if the vehicle is not moved to a safe location.

This is a common occurrence on our freeway in the Duluth area. This situation is more prevalent during poor weather and road conditions when a driver loses control, strikes an object, dents a fender and is partially blocking a traffic lane. When we arrive we often find folks outside of their cars surveying the damage and talking to others involved while traffic continues by them on icy freeway roads at speeds often too fast for the conditions. This is a dangerous situation and many secondary crashes occur.

We encourage drivers to move vehicles involved in a crash where there are no injuries or deaths to a safe location. If you are on the interstate, talk briefly with the other driver if there is another car involved and go to the next off ramp. Once in a safe location, call 911. We can respond and handle the crash in an area where we are all much safer.

Those who wish to only exchange information with the other parties involved in the crash may do so. Minnesota law requires that a crash be reported to law enforcement only if there is personal injury or death. If the damage to the vehicles involved totals $1,000 or more, a state accident report must be filed within 10 days of the crash by all drivers. A copy of the report can be picked up at your local law enforcement department.