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Incident Best Practices

Traffic incidents create unsafe situations for motorists and pedestrians, put motorists' and responders' lives at risk, and cause delays. Traffic Incident Management (TIM) responders—including fire, police, ambulance, and towing and recovery professionals—work together to help motorists, and to clear incidents safely and quickly.

But these responders can't do it alone. As a driver, you must also do your part to help keep everyone safe and moving on our roadways.

Know your role:

  1. If you are involved in a traffic incident, you must take certain actions to ensure safety and compliance with the law. Move your car to a safe place—out of the travel lane—if you are able and there are no injuries.
  2. When you see flashing lights (i.e., police car or ambulance, fire truck, towing or recovery truck) ahead of or behind you, you need to slow down and/or move over. This applies to all types of emergency vehicles. You can be ticketed for failing to do this.
  3. Help keep your loved ones safe and avoid a ticket. Tell your friends and family about these laws.

By the Numbers

Blocked Lanes Create Delays
  • 4 minutes: How long traffic is delayed for every minute a lane is blocked
  • 36 minutes: The length of a traffic holdup due to an initial incident that is likely to cause a secondary crash
  • 52: Number of law enforcement fatalities due to traffic-related incidents nationwide in 2015
  • 2.8 billion gallons: The amount of fuel wasted annually due to being stuck in traffic
  • 38,000: The number of responders in harm's way at an incident scene in a 24-hour period
  • 20,000: The average number of first responders injured annually while responding to traffic incidents

Resources For Drivers

"Pull to the Right"
Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue

"Slow Down, Move Over"
Emergency Responder Safety Institute


"Move It"
Emergency Responder Safety Institute

What Are Your Reasons for Using a Phone While Driving? ItCanWait.com


Acronym Glossary

  • AAR—After Action Review
  • CDOT—Colorado Department of Transportation
  • CSP—Colorado State Patrol
  • FHWA—Federal Highway Administration
  • SHRP2—Strategic Highway Research Program 2
  • SPMT—Standing Program Management Teams
  • TIM—Traffic Incident Management

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal