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What to do after a non-injury, fender bender collision

If you’re involved in a freeway fender bender, the misconception that it’s best to stay put can leave you in danger, create hazardous slowing and lane changes for all drivers, and increase risks for emergency responders.

That’s why the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Department of Public Safety need you to know about the practice of Quick Clearance, in which drivers involved in minor crashes that don’t involve injuries get their vehicles out of travel lanes as soon as it’s safe to do so.

No one wants to be in this situation, but with a vehicle crash occurring almost every five minutes in Arizona, everyone should know how best to stay safe following a minor, non-injury collision.

Reasons for practicing Quick Clearance begin with a state law that requires a driver involved in a minor crash without injuries to remove a vehicle from the roadway if it is operable and can be moved safely. Doing this is safer for drivers involved in the crash, fellow motorists and emergency responders.

“Many drivers have been taught not to move their vehicles until law enforcement arrives on scene, but that is not correct,” said DPS Sgt. John Paul Cartier. “Every traffic incident management principle confirms drivers can greatly impact safety, reduce congestion and reduce secondary collisions. Drivers who comply with Quick Clearance state law make a positive difference in many lives.”

Quickly moving your vehicle out of travel lanes provides a safer environment to inspect your car for damage. Moving your vehicle to the emergency shoulder, median or exiting the highway also provides a safer environment for first responders and keeps travel lanes clear for other vehicles, reducing the chance of a secondary collision. Of the 29 DPS troopers killed in the line of duty, 11 were struck and killed in secondary crashes on state highways. ADOT and DPS are promoting Quick Clearance as part of a nationwide effort among transportation, law enforcement and other first responder agencies and organizations as part of National Traffic Incident Management Week (Nov. 13-19). On Wednesday and Thursday, many overhead highway signs statewide will display the following message:

FENDER BENDER?

SAVE YOUR REAR

AND QUICKLY CLEAR

If you are involved in a crash, the first action to take is to make sure you and occupants in your vehicle are OK. Then, if your vehicle is operable, move to the emergency shoulder, median or exit the highway and call 911. Stay out of travel lanes, be alert and watch approaching traffic.

Remember: Never leave the scene of a crash.

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