State trooper: What to do after a car crash |

State trooper: What to do after a car crash

Trooper Christopher Dierker
Colorado State Patrol

You’re going through an intersection or driving out on the highway, and suddenly you hear a crunch. What just happened? What did I hit? Where did the other car come from? If you are involved in a car crash all of these questions may begin to race through your mind. What do you do next? What are you required to do? If it is a minor crash, do I still have to notify the police?

A traffic accident is defined as unintentional damage or injury caused by the movement of a motor vehicle or its load. The laws in Colorado require drivers to notify police of all accidents. If you hit another vehicle or damage another person’s property, you are required to stop and check for injuries and damage. Failure to remain on scene or check for injuries after a crash could result in the loss of your license, and if charged, is a summons to court.

Here are some guidelines for you to follow:

Stay calm

Take a deep breath and assess the crash scene. You must remain calm in order to make sound decisions and provide proper and detailed information to responding emergency services personnel.

Check for injuries

If there are other vehicles or passengers involved, you need to check on the extent of injuries. Look for bruises, scratches, or disorientation. Don’t forget to check yourself, as adrenaline can mask your own injuries.

Call the police

You are required by law to report any accident to the police. Remember, calling 911 will direct you to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The following crash information is important for you to provide for responding emergency personnel: detailed location of the crash, extent of injuries, number of vehicles involved and any other hazards that may be present.

Stay in a safe location

You and all other parties should get to a safe location out of traffic. Only move other passengers or drivers if no serious injuries have occurred. Remember only move your vehicle and crash scene evidence if directed to do so by law enforcement. You can also let oncoming traffic know of the possible hazard by turning on your hazard lights. Also while waiting, you can gather your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.

Remember to drive safely and keep your eyes open.

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