Q: What should a person do if they're involved in a crash?

A: The State Patrol alone has handled over 41,000 so far this year. So it’s important to know what to do immediately after one happens.

Each crash 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 and others 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.

If your vehicle is disabled and you can't get out of the lanes of traffic, stay in your vehicle and keep your seat belt on. 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

In the event of a serious injury or fatal crash, investigators need all evidence at the scene to remain in their final resting positions. Speeds of the vehicle(s) involved and other important information can be determined by knowing the direction of travel, pre-/post-skid marks, point of impact and final rest.

As soon as you’re safe, call 911. Let the dispatcher know exactly where you are, what lane you are in, and if any vehicles are blocking a lane. This information is very useful to all emergency vehicles responding to the scene.

Even if the crash seems minor, you’ll need a police report or information from the other driver for your insurance company. Here’s what you’ll need to know about one another:

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Phone number;
  • License plate number;
  • Driver’s license number;
  • Insurance company name;
  • Insurance policy number.

Law enforcement will be asking for a driver’s license and for proof of insurance. We will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the crash by interviewing the drivers, passengers and witnesses. Each driver will receive a copy of the crash information to provide to their insurance company.

The best way to deal with a crash is to make sure it never happens in the first place. So be sure to put your away distractions when you drive, find a sober ride if you’ve been drinking, obey all speed limits and wear your seat belt.

Send your questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota to trooper@duluthnews.com or Sgt. Neil Dickenson – Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811