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What to do if you see a hit-and-run accident

Many people feel as though they shouldn’t get involved after witnessing an accident. Causing an accident and leaving the scene is a crime: too often, the perpetrators go unpunished.

  1. Pull over immediately if you’re driving. Do not attempt to follow the fleeing vehicle.
  2. Call 9-1-1. Witnesses often assume that someone else is calling.
  3. Render aid, if you are able. Off-duty nurses, doctors, EMT and firemen have saved thousands of lives and limbs. Especially for pedestrian accidents, an injured person should be treated as soon as possible, but remember—do not move an injured victim carelessly.
  4. Check the scene for safety.
  • If a car appears to be leaking fluid, or there is smoke coming from the hood, leave the vehicles and get everyone back as far as possible.
  • Set up flares or help protect the victim from oncoming traffic.
  • If no one appears to be injured, the vehicles can be moved off the road to allow traffic through.
  1. Take notes: grab a pen or your phone, and record:
  • License plate number and state
  • Color
  • Vehicle make and model
  • Exact location, including cross streets
  • Time of the collision
  • Gather information from any other witnesses: names, addresses, and phone numbers. Not everyone will wait for police assistance to arrive, and the injured person may need this information to file a claim for injuries.
Set up flares around the crash site, and be careful of oncoming traffic.
Set up flares around the crash site, and be careful of oncoming traffic.
  1. Stay at the scene of the crash until you have given a statement to a responding officer, and provided your notes and information for follow-up.

In Oregon, drivers, pedestrians or cyclists involved in a hit-and-run accident should file a report with Oregon Department of Transportation

In Washington, responding police officers file a report. If officers do not come to the scene, file a hit-and-run crash report.

California hit-and-run reports can be filed here.

Image courtesy of FeelArt,

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