Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on May 6th, 2013,
by Zane Cagle

MoDOT–Everyone Needs to Do Their Part for Missouri Highways After a Collision

Posted on May 6th, 2013 by Zane Cagle

Photo credit: Erik M. Lunsford--truck accident off ramp to Interstate 70 in downtown St. Louis--10/12/12

Photo credit: Erik M. Lunsford–truck accident off ramp to Interstate 70 in downtown St. Louis–10/12/12

An early morning tractor-trailer crash involving a sport-utility vehicle and a third vehicle took more than 11 hours to clear from southbound Interstate 270 near Highway 370 in north St. Louis on March 25, 2013.  The SUV crashed into a center median thus causing a chain reaction. The March 25 accident was one of the 621 crash incidents on local Missouri highways in a month.  According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the average time to clean up an accident from the highway is 26 minutes as reported by  the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Needless to say, when there is an auto accident on Missouri and Illinois highways, they quickly become the problem of many due lane and highway closures and backing up traffic.

But, more importantly are the injuries and fatalities that result from auto accidents.  When traffic is backed up, we often grow very impatient and forget that someone up ahead causing our delay may be seriously hurt or killed.

Missouri law requires that you move your vehicle off of the road if the accident is minor in nature.  Tom Blair, MoDOT’s assistant district engineer in St. Louis says, “You need to steer it and clear it”.  A point that Blair makes and what we see all of the time are the secondary accidents that occur when traffic backs up can often be worse than the initial incident.

MoDOT reviews the incident information and track accidents and clean up when possible including time it takes to clear an accident.  Missouri transportation officials define a traffic incident as “an unplanned event that reduces the number of cars that can use the highway”.  Obviously, the less time it takes to clear an accident, the sooner the highway system will be working at capacity again.

Lane closures are not just due to car accidents, water breaks and  weather also cuase unsafe conditions where something has to be cleared from the roadway.

Again, the major problem with anything defined as an “incident” is the possibility of a crash or a secondary crash.  So, if you are involved in a minor crash, do the following (only if you are not injured):

  1. Get your car way over to the shoulder – do not get out in the driving lanes to asses damage while  other cars are whiping by you.
  2. Call 911- even if it is not a life threatening injury, you will want  to advise emergency personnel so they know about your accident for documentation and also emergency personnel may want to send officers to be sure that traffic continues to run smoothly and help to avoid any secondary crashes
  3. Quickly come to agreement with the other party about meeting at the next exit to exchange insurance information. Not to suggest follow up the next day, but just quickly agree to take the next exit or wide shoulder in order to remove your car quickly
  4. Exchange insurance information a safe distance from the accident

Only you know if you feel injured. Obviously, if you are bleeding heavily or have broken bones, then moving your car may not be an option.  The flow of  the traffic, the location (be it an interstate or less traveled highway), the time of the day or night as well as the injuries of passengers or other drivers are all factors in whether you will be able to move your car to the shoulder.  Having your car disabled in the middle of the highway or interstate is extremely dangerous so avoid it if you can. Call 911 and get some help or get to the shoulder or nearest exit.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, then you will probably need a personal injury attorney. If you were not injured, then you probably do not actually need an attorney. If you are not sure, then we are more than happy to discuss your accident and help advise you of your options and appropriate actions to take. Call our attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm, locally (314) 276-1681 or toll free (314) 276-1681