For many, winter weather brings out the best Montana has to offer—good powder for skiing, gorgeous landscapes, and perfect sledding hills. Unfortunately, it also means icy streets. A major snow storm often leads to a spike in calls to the Billings Police Department reporting motor vehicle accidents.
What is the Slick Streets Policy?
When the volume of calls is too high for officers to respond to every reported accident, the Billings Police Department may initiate its slick streets policy. When the policy is activated, officers may not respond to an accident if it does not involve a serious personal injury, a disabled vehicle, a possible DUI, or a driver without insurance.
What Should I Do if I’m in a Wreck When the Slick Streets Policy is in Effect?
If the vehicles can be moved and there are no apparent injuries, you should move to the side of the road and exchange insurance information. Be sure to get name, address, phone number, license number, and insurance information. You also must report the crash later. You can obtain the Montana Highway Patrol Vehicle Accident Report Form from the Crime Prevention Center at 406-247-8590 or online.
Does This Mean I Shouldn’t Call the Police?
You should still call the police. Even if there are no injuries, contact the Dispatch Center at 406-657-8200. Dispatch will give you directions on how to handle the situation.
How Might the Slick Streets Policy Affect My Insurance Claim?
Just because you don’t report an injury to the police doesn’t mean you weren’t injured. Sometimes injuries are not readily apparent immediately following an accident. It may take hours or even days for symptoms to develop, particularly if you experience a rush of adrenaline after the accident. Additionally, you may have what seems like a minor injury and don’t think you should involve the police, but it may later turn into a serious injury. Keep notes of your symptoms and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Make sure to be specific when discussing the wreck with a medical provider.
If it is safe to do so, it may be helpful to take photographs of the scene and the damage to your vehicle. You may also ask for contact information for any witnesses.
Remember, whenever the roads are icy, slow down, particularly at intersections and while turning. Pay attention to those around you. Practice defensive driving.
If you are injured in an accident, call Edmiston & Colton Law Firm. We have been in Montana representing Montanans for over 30 years. For more information, visit www.YellowstoneLaw.com or call (406) 259-9986.
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