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'Steer It, Clear It': WisDOT educates drivers on steps to keep roads safe after a crash

Posted at 8:47 PM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 21:47:57-04

MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is asking drivers to take small steps to ensure safe conditions for everyone on the road following a crash.

Wisconsin State Patrol's November Law of the Month is the state's "Steer It, Clear It" law. The law requires drivers to move cars that are involved in a crash out of traffic if no one is hurt, and the vehicles can be moved safely. Officials say if someone is hurt or the vehicle is disabled, drivers should not risk injury by trying to push the car out of traffic.

According to officials, moving out of the lane of traffic will provide safer conditions for law enforcement and other responders. It also helps crews more easily clear vehicle, 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. If you find yourself in a crash, help us keep everyone safe and move out of the path of traffic,” Superintendent Anthony Burrell said.

According to state officials, there were 115,694 crashes in 2020 in Wisconsin, and 703 were secondary crashes, happening after an initial incident. Last year, 69 workers were hurt and two were killed while responding to an emergency in Wisconsin.

WisDOT is also marking Crash Responder Safety Week from November 8-14, 2021.

"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," WisDOT said in a statement.

Steer It, Clear It became a law in 1998 in Wisconsin and grants immunity from civil damages to anyone who clears the crash scene at the direction of law enforcement.

According to WisDOT, drivers involved in a crash should do the following:

1. 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.

2. Stay safe and calm. Watch for traffic, stay inside the vehicle with a seat belt on while waiting for help.

3. If you can steer it, clear it. Move out of traffic if the vehicle is not disabled.

4. Turn hazard lights on or raise the hood of the vehicle to warn other drivers of the incident and avoid secondary crashes.

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