Is it okay to move your car after an accident or should you leave it in place until the police arrive — even if it’s blocking traffic? — Shelley, via Twitter
If nobody’s hurt and your car is drivable, move it out of the way, police say.
“There’s no law here that says you have to move it,” says Const. Clint Stibbe, with Toronto Police traffic services. “But we do have signage up mainly on the expressways that asks drivers involved in a minor collision to move their vehicles off the roadway.”
Police don’t usually show up at minor accidents — they only come if there’s an injury serious enough to send someone to the hospital or if there’s a criminal charge like impaired driving. If any of those apply, wait for police and don’t move your vehicle.
But, in a minor accident, it’s up to you to move your car out of the path of traffic — or off the road entirely.
“If your collision happens on a major highway, instead of moving to the shoulder, the OPP would like the drivers to exit off the highway and find a parking lot or side street to avoid any visual distractions,” says OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt. “This is the safest thing to do if you need to exchange info with any other drivers or call your insurance company.”
The reason to get off the road? So you don’t cause gridlock and so other cars don’t hit your car — or you.
Even though you should clear the road if you can, that doesn’t mean you just take off after a fender bender. You still have to stop.
If you’re driving off the highway before you’ve exchanged information, you should let the other driver know where you’re going to meet them, Schmidt says.
“It’s very important to have some communication with the other driver so they don’t take off or get lost as they move off the highway,”
Signs on roads say Steer it, Clear it. The catchphrase — and variations like “If you can steer it, clear it” — first appeared in similar campaigns in the U.S. Some states, like Michigan, have laws requiring you to move your car after a minor crash.
Accidents where the combined damage is more than $1,000 have to be reported in Ontario (it’s $2,000 in the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland). You can report accidents at a police station or a collision reporting centre.
Source: The Globe and Mail