Every 60 seconds someone, somewhere is involved in a car accident. Know what to do if it’s you.
It’s a statistic that you may not have heard: According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, every minute of every day, a car accident happens somewhere in the world. If you have not been involved in an accident, consider yourself lucky. According to a Forbes article, on average, a person will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years.
How to handle an accident is very important, especially in Colorado, a state that has a specific statute on crash scenes and what to do if you are involved in an accident.
‘Move Your Crash Colorado’
Rubbernecking. It’s something that we’ve all probably done at one time or another, even though it’s dangerous to slow down to look at an accident scene. That danger is why Colorado has a law called “Move Your Crash Colorado,” which says that vehicles involved in a crash on a divided highway must be moved to a safe location as long as there are no injuries and no drugs or alcohol involved in the crash.
Every year in the state there are thousands of secondary accidents that cause damage and injury. As a matter of fact, the Colorado Department of Public Safety notes that for every 10 minutes a car accident is left on or near the road, there’s a 28 percent increase in the likelihood of a secondary crash. Not only is there a good chance a secondary crash will occur, but for every minute a traffic lane is blocked, four minutes is added to the travel time of those behind the crash.
Vehicle Accidents in Colorado Must Be Reported
Being able to move cars involved in a crash off the road does not mean you can get away with not calling law enforcement.
If there are any injuries, you should always call 911 so police and medical assistance will be directed to the scene. If there are no injuries, drivers involved in the accident are required to exchange information — such as name and insurance company information — with everyone involved. If possible, get the names of any witnesses in case you need them to testify later.
If law enforcement arrives at a crash scene, an accident report will be filed with the DMV. However, even if no law enforcement personnel arrive, you must file a report. The state has made that process easy to do via the Move Your Crash Colorado website. However, you are only allowed to file a report online if:
- There are no fatalities involved in the accident
- No one in the accident requires medical attention
- The accident was not a hit and run
- None of the drivers involved were suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The accident did not result in damage to public property
In addition to notifying the DMV, you are also responsible for notifying your auto insurance company, which may mean more paperwork.
Avoid Accidents in the First Place
While laws are making it easier to settle minor accidents and fender benders, authorities say the best way to avoid these inconveniences is to be a safe driver. They ask drivers to slow down, avoid distractions, and follow cars at a safe distance in case they stop abruptly.