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Should You Move Your Car After An Accident? Learn Here!

By  Dan McCrary | December 16, 2023

The question of should you move your car after an accident often comes to mind. There’s a common belief that you shouldn’t touch anything in accident cases until the police arrive, and that’s true to some extent. 

However, if your car is blocking traffic or causing a roadblock, moving it to a safer spot is okay, but there are some exceptions. In some cases, you shouldn’t move your car or even a small object from the accident scene even if the road is blocked. 

To help you, we’ll answer the exceptions in which moving your car from the accident scene creates a legal issue and what exactly you should do after a car accident. So, let’s get into the details below! 

Is It Illegal To Move Your Car After an Accident?

Fortunately, there’s no obligation from the law for you to move your car to a safe place after an accident; it’s also a recommended step. By doing this, you’ll make sure traffic remains in flow, preventing road congestion. 

According to California Vehicle Code Section 20002

“The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists.” 

The police and ambulance for medical help can also reach you on the spot easily if there’s no traffic jam on the accident road. Moreover, this step reduces the risk of another accident due to the roadblock.

The best places to move your car after an accident are parking spots or the shoulder of a highway. But remember, it’s not necessary; your safety and health always come first. If you cannot move or feel pain, it’s advisable to wait for medical help.

Once medical help comes, explain your situation to them, ensure you’re in good health, and then proceed to move your car. The law doesn’t force an injured person to move their vehicle until they are physically able to do so.

When To Not Move Your Car After An Accident?

Besides your health, there are many other situations in which you shouldn’t move your car after an accident. Otherwise, you may face legal consequences because moving a car in particular situations can risk your or others’ lives. 

  1. Totalled Car: The first situation in which you shouldn’t try to move the car is when it’s totalled completely or running improperly. In these situations, the car isn’t safe to move, and it might lead to another dangerous accident. 
  2. Unstable Road: In some cases, the debris of the car crash comes in the way while parking the car in a safe place. If this is the situation, you shouldn’t move the car because while doing this, you might get injured. 
  3. Explosion Hazard: A strong gasoline smell inside or near the car means the fuel tank is leaking. It’s dangerous as a leaking fuel tank could lead to an explosion or fire. Hence, you should better stay away from the car. 
  4. Death or Serious Injury: If you or the driver in the other car is seriously injured or someone died due to the accident, don’t move the car. Doing so can mess up the evidence and make injuries worse.

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What To Do After A Car Crash: 3 Simple Safety Steps

Now you know when you should move the car and in which situations, let’s focus on what you should do besides that. Below, we’ll explain the three simple steps that ensure your safety and save you from potential legal issues in car accident cases. 

1. Prioritize Your Health 

The first and most important step is to prioritize your health. Make sure you and the other driver are safe, and there are no serious injuries. If someone is injured or feeling severe pain, call 911 for medical assistance.

2. Contact Local Police 

While waiting for medical help, contact the police and officially report the car accident. Remember to document the accident by taking pictures and videos. This documentation can assist a car accident lawyer to prove who was at fault to insurers or a judge in court.

3. Exchange Contacts 

Lastly, exchange contact information with the other driver. If there’s no driver present, leave a note with your phone number and email. It ensures the driver can reach you, and both parties can work towards a mutual settlement to cover financial losses.


Whether you should move your car after an accident depends on the circumstances. If everyone is safe, including you, with no severe injuries, there's no issue with moving the car. In fact, it's recommended by the law (California Vehicle Code Section 20002).

However, if you're injured, someone has died, the car is totaled, the road is unstable, or fuel is leaking from the car, it's best to stay away from the car. In these situations, moving the car can lead to another mishap.

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    McCrary Accident Injury Law Firm specializes in personal injury litigation. Its founder, Dan McCrary, Esq., spent 14 years working for the insurance companies before switching sides to represent personal injury victims in Rocklin as an attorney.

    Dan McCrary’s years of experience on the defense side taught him exactly how to obtain maximum recovery for his injured clients. If you have been injured in an accident you should contact the Accident & Injury Lawyers, Personal injury Attorney, Car accident lawyers at McCrary Accident Injury Law Firm in Rocklin, folsom, Sacramento to get the money you deserve, and overcome the tactics routinely employed by the insurance companies.