National Crash Responder Safety Week

You see flashing lights up ahead. What do you do? According to the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa State Patrol, the best thing to do is move over if possible, or slow down as you pass the scene.

The professionals who respond to crashes and other incidents on Iowa’s highways are using National Crash Responder Safety Week, Nov. 13-17, to remind everyone to watch for flashing lights ahead to “Protect Those Who Protect You.”

If you are involved in a traffic crash, you’ll likely be relying on various trained professionals to ensure you and everyone else at the scene are as safe as possible. To keep everyone safer on the road, states across the country have enacted Move Over Laws to encourage motorists to either move over or slow down, if moving over is not possible, when they come up on a crash scene. In Iowa, our Move Over Law states that you should move over or slow down whenever you come upon any vehicle with flashing lights. National data shows that nearly 30 percent of people are unaware of these laws.

When a crash happens, the priority is to make sure all victims are quickly treated and out of harm’s way because many vehicles do not slow down or move over. But there is also work to do to document and clean up the scene and restore the flow of traffic as quickly as possible to get you on your way. Those who come to your rescue are more successful when all the responders work together in a coordinated way. Crash Responder Safety Week is in place not only to remind you that you should move over or slow down but also to highlight the benefits of coordination training for first responders.

Col. Nathan Fulk, Chief of the Iowa State Patrol said, “It is essential that our troopers know how to coordinate with all parties at the scene so we can treat those who may need help and get traffic flowing again. Our troopers investigate the crash and work with the Iowa DOT, local firefighters, our towing partners, and others to clear the crash scene as quickly as possible to reduce the likelihood of additional crashes. These secondary crashes often occur due to drivers paying more attention to the initial crash scene than to the task of driving.”