Steer It To Clear It

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 6 a.m. December 19, 2014
Updated: 10:40 a.m. December 19, 2014

If you are involved in a minor vehicle collision where there are no injuries or deaths and was not the result of a criminal act such as an impaired driver, you should clear your car from the road.

A man stands between two cars in the middle of a residential street
An example of a collision that could be cleared from the road and reported via a Collision Reporting Centre

It’s one of the messages Toronto Police is trying to get across as it moves ahead with plans to reduce gridlock on busy city streets downtown.

“We need everybody to work together to help commuters go to and from the downtown core quicker and more efficiently than they are now,” Traffic Services Constable Clint Stibbe said, of moving vehicles that are involved off the road where drivers can exchange information and then visit a  Collision Reporting Centre. There are two in Toronto, one in North York at  113 Toryork Drive and another in Scarborough at  39 Howden Road open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to Midnight all year.

Motorists involved in a collision should record the other driver’s licence plate, the name of the insurance policy company and the policy number prior to leaving the scene. 

Stibbe encouraged drivers involved in collisions to take photos.

“A picture is worth a thousand words and you can capture more in a photo than you probably would in any amount of writing,” he said. “You can also take photos of insurance documents, the driver’s licence and the ownership information from the vehicle as well as a photo of the driver. Those are all things you could do to protect yourselves from fraudulent claims that may occur.”

If the combined total damage to the vehicles is less than $1,000, drivers do not have to report the collision at all.

Stibbe advised drivers whose vehicles become immobile after a collision to move to a safe area of the road and wait for assistance.

He said that, when in doubt on when to clear the scene of a collision, motorists should call police.

You Know You Shouldn't... So Don't - Blocking Roads After Minor Collision

“Each situation is unique and drivers will have to decide where a safe area is,” Stibbe said. “Obviously, if the vehicle is that badly damaged, call police. We can attend and you can be referred to a collision reporting centre even if your vehicle is towed.”

Clearing the road also prevents secondary collisions, especially on roads with higher rates of speed.

“By moving your vehicle out of the way, you are preventing secondary collisions, which, in some cases, can cause injuries to individuals involved in the first collision,” said Stibbe.

On December 8, Chief Bill Blair announced the launch of an educational and enforcement program to reduce traffic gridlock and congestion along rush-hour routes.

Until the end of the year, the Service is focusing on awareness and education to help alter the behaviour of drivers causing congestion and gridlock.

The program, called ‘You know you shouldn’t… So don’t’ addresses five main areas that cause congestion and gridlock: 

- Drivers making prohibited turns at intersections 

- Pedestrians stepping on to roadways in advance of green light or walk signals

- Blocking of the intersection and failing to clear an intersection in the green light

- Blocking of lanes by stopped vehicles

- Failing to clear minor collisions from the road, causing blocked lanes

You Know You Shouldn't, So Don't - Prohibited Turn
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