Ask A Trooper
Sgt. Jesse Grabow
Question: My daughter just got in a crash recently. Nobody got hurt but it got us talking on how important it is to know what to do after something like this. Can you write about that?
Answer: 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. For the latter, this could mean driving (if possible) to the nearest off-ramp or underpass. If your car isn’t drivable, stay inside it, but move to the passenger’s side, so that there’s more room between you and traffic.
Once you’re safe, call 911. Even if the crash seems minor, you’ll need a police report for your insurance company. Once first responders are on the way, you can start talking to the other driver. Be courteous – you’ve both been through a traumatic situation – but don’t talk fault. Instead, exchange information.
•License plate number
•Driver’s license number
•Insurance company name
•Insurance policy number
Then take pictures, both of the damage itself and of the accident scene (but again, try to do so safely). Once you’ve done that, first responders should be there, and then you can start filling out a crash report.
Once you have a report number, you can call your insurance company. And if you can, see a medical professional. You may feel okay right after the crash, but injuries can show up after the adrenalin wears off.
The best way to deal with a crash is to make sure it never happens in the first place. So be sure to put your away distractions when you drive, find a sober ride if you’ve been drinking, obey all speed limits, and wear your seatbelt.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, firstname.lastname@example.org).