MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is aiming to make accident scenes safer for those involved and passersby alike.
In it’s “Law of the Month” reminder for November, the WisDOT points to the “Steer It, Clear It” law, which requires drivers to move vehicles involved in a crash out of traffic if no one is hurt and the vehicles can be moved safely, according to a news release.
If someone is hurt or the vehicle is disabled, drivers should not risk injury by trying to push the vehicle out of traffic.
Drivers involved in a crash should:
- Check for injuries. Call 911 if anyone is hurt. Provide accurate information about the location of the incident, severity of injuries, and number of lanes blocked.
- Stay safe and calm. Watch for traffic, stay inside the vehicle with a seat belt on while waiting for help.
- If you can steer it, clear it. Move out of traffic if the vehicle is not disabled.
- Turn hazard lights on or raise the hood of the vehicle to warn other drivers of the incident and avoid secondary crashes.
“This simple action, moving out of the lane of traffic provides safer conditions for law enforcement and other responders,” the news release stated. “It also helps crews more easily clear vehicles, crash debris, spilled materials and other obstructions from the road.”
“Our officers and first responders put themselves at risk to help those who get into trouble on the highways,” WisDOT Superintendent Anthony Burrell said. “If you find yourself in a crash, help us keep everyone safe and move out of the path of traffic.”
Across Wisconsin, there were 115,694 crashes in 2020 — 703 of which were secondary crashes that happened after an initial incident.
“Secondary crashes put those involved and the responders who show up to help in danger,” according to the news release.
Last year, 69 workers were hurt and two were killed in Wisconsin while responding to an emergency.
Additionally, WisDOT is also marking Crash Responder Safety Week from Nov. 8-14.
“The initiative highlights the crucial role of first responders and the importance of protecting them on the roads by moving over and slowing down to keep them safe while they work,” the news release stated.
“Steer It, Clear It” became law in Wisconsin in 1998 and grants immunity from civil damages to anyone who clears the crash scene at the direction of law enforcement.
“Drivers should also be aware of what to do when an emergency vehicle approaches on the roads,” according to the news release.
“State law requires drivers to yield the right of way and pull over when an authorized emergency vehicle has its lights or sirens activated. Stay parallel to the right curb or right edge of the shoulder, clear of any intersection, until the emergency crews pass through the area.”
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