When in a fender bender, many people wonder if they are allowed to move their cars before the police arrive. In a typical case, two cars hit each other on the freeway causing light damage to both cars, but then instead of pulling over, just sit in the lane to wait for police to arrive. Common sense might tell them to move to avoid getting hit, but many motorists aren’t sure if they are supposed to stay there or are allowed to move their cars. They don’t want to do something illegal if they can help it.
In Florida, as in most states, the law actually requires you to move your cars out of traffic and to a safe location if in a wreck. The purpose of the law is the safety of the people involved in the crash and to those out in traffic who are vulnerable to secondary crashes trying to stop or avoid the stopped cars.
Florida Motor Vehicle Code Section 316.061 and 316.071 require that anyone involved in a crash must attempt to move the vehicle out of the flow of traffic if possible, and if they are unable, then get help to do so.
This means that if two cars get into an accident and come to a rest in traffic, then they need to drive the cars to the side of the road. If the vehicle won’t run, then they are required to get help. This means that if needed, call a tow truck to move the car out of traffic.
The penalty for violating these sections is a fine and court costs which vary over time in amount. Historically, it’s rare that the Florida Highway Patrol will give out fines, however, they are out on the highways every day and see many times a that a small wreck ends up leading to a secondary with serious damage and injuries.
In a rear-end accident in April, 2019, a Florida Highway Patrol Helicopter spotted two cars that collided on Brandon Boulevard approaching the onramp to I-75 and had stopped in one of the middle lanes. A video shows several near misses that could have caused serios injuries, especially one near miss involving a motorcycle. This poignantly illustrates how important it is to remove the cars from traffic.
What if I’m Injured?
The law requires that the driver of the wrecked car make “every reasonable effort” to move the car out of traffic. This language means that if the driver is injured or just incapable of moving the car, or if moving the car would actually cause more risk of injury or secondary crashes, then it’s not a violation of the law to just leave it there.
In most cases, the courts will allow for the driver to use common sense, but if an accident could be avoided by moving the vehicle when its unreasonable to leave the vehicles there, the police have the option of issuing a ticket.
Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a crash, contact the Tampa Car Accident Lawyers at RHINO Lawyer today for a free consultation and case evaluation. RHINO Lawyers is the powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head on!”