Why Do Police Block Roads to Clean Up a Wreck?

It’s aggravating to pull up on what you expect to be a busy freeway or intersection only to see police SUVs parked all along the way. It means a detour and possibly hours in traffic, but it also confirms that the wreck you just drove around either had a fatality, substantial property damage, or serious injuries. Police block roads with their cruisers, fire trucks, and even curtains for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they’re still doing their duty to protect the people, meaning the other drivers on the road, and the victims of that car wreck.

The Dangers of Keeping Traffic Open After a Wreck

If you have open flowing traffic during a car crash cleanup, you run the risk of debris getting into the road and causing more accidents. But you also have the chance of not being able to collect all the necessary evidence for a full report. When traffic is rushing by, the focus quickly changes from properly documenting the crash to making the environment safe for other drivers.

Police need to be able to do their job, and that often means that they need an uninterrupted place to work. That place happens to be the roadway where many people are trying to drive, and the victims are trying to recover.


Rubbernecking is something to consider, in that they become a huge hazard to everyone on the road. Yes, it’s hard to not look at a wreck, but it slows down everyone else and takes your eyes off the road in front of you. Rubbernecking will often lead to many small crashes around one big crash.

Because rubbernecking is so common, police block off roads and intersections entirely so that there’s no chance for other drivers to see anything. It’s one of the top reasons why police will completely block off roads. It removes the risk of more accidents on the same road and worse congestion in traffic.

Progressive, one of the leading car insurance brands, estimates that rubbernecking is responsible for 10 to 16% of all accidents and can delay traffic by about half an hour. That’s another 30 minutes of sitting in traffic, whereas if you had simply paid attention, you could have gone about your day.

Faster Clean-Up Times and A More Thorough Job

Have you ever worked in a completely distraction-less environment? It’s extremely productive, and that’s what first responders want. They want to be able to get in, do their job, and then move on. For most crashes, that means blocking off that bit of road completely and in a way that helps other drivers know that the road will be open soon. They may use signs or have an officer directing traffic temporarily.

Next Time, Tell First Responders “Good Job”

First responders are on the front lines, working in busy freeways and trying to shut down high-speed traffic to ensure the safety of the victims. The last thing they need is someone harassing them for shutting down a road.

If an officer approaches your window, take the opportunity to thank them for working with traffic while they have a crash to manage. They pull together as a team with firefighters and emergency medical response to keep things going and often get the least amount of support. Take the chance, say thank you, and keep the good mood up while they may be working on a very disheartening scene.

Will You Need an Attorney After Police Help Clean Up Your Crash?

It’s more likely that you’ll need an attorney after a crash that calls for first responders and an organized clean up. But what happens in this process is that you’ll have additional information in your crash report or police report from what they found at the scene. It’s a helpful notion for many people who were too injured to collect any evidence at the scene, knowing that police are launching their own look-see into the wreck.

But, what an attorney will do is to go through that evidence, contact the witnesses who left their information and build a case. Although you might not actually go to court, what you’re establishing is that you’re not the at-fault driver. Georgia uses the very standard comparative fault system that puts the responsibility for damages on the driver, who is more than 50% at-fault. Our attorneys at The Weinstein Firm will go through your crash to help determine your small role in the wreck and what damages resulted from this other person’s poor judgment. Call our Georgia car wreck law firm today for help.

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