Ask a Trooper: What steps do I take if I get into a crash?

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Troy Christianson


Question: What should a person do if involved in a crash?

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Answer: Crashes happen every day in Minnesota — the State Patrol alone has handled over 41,000 so far this year. It’s important to know what to do immediately after it happens.

The first and most important thing to do after you’ve been involved in a crash is to get to a safe place. Worry less about preserving the scene for law enforcement and more about protecting yourself and your car from further damage, especially if you’re on a highway or interstate. This could mean driving (if possible) to the nearest off-ramp or underpass. If your car isn’t drivable, stay inside the vehicle with your seat belt on, but move to the passenger’s side so there is more room between you and traffic.

As soon as you are safe, call 911. When law enforcement arrives, you should exchange information with the other driver and take pictures of the damage and crash scene, but only when it is safe to do so.

What you will need to know about the other driver:

• Name

• Address

• Phone number

• License plate number

• Driver’s license number

• Insurance company name

• Insurance policy number

Please remember that you can avoid a crash — and a ticket — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.