You just got into an accident. What should you do now?
If your car was severely damaged and undrivable, you likely had to have your car towed to an auto repair shop, or if it was totaled, your car may have even been taken away to a junkyard. But in instances where your car has exterior damage and is capable of driving you may be wondering whether or not it’s safe to drive your vehicle.
You may also be tempted to believe that the damage is only external, but the reality is until you have your car checked out by a professional you won’t know what extent the damage has been done to your car internally or if there are mechanical problems.
Driving a vehicle that has mechanical damage will only cause more damage to your car or truck. Plus, it can be very unsafe for both yourself and other drivers on the road. Since getting into an accident is stressful enough, we’ve put together some common questions and answers you may have after getting into a car accident.
What Should I Do First After Getting Into an Accident?
The state of Minnesota recommends drivers take the following steps should they get involved in a car accident:
- If possible, move out of traffic into a safe location.
- Turn off your engine and call 911.
- Exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver.
- Take pictures of the damage and accident scene.
- Write down the details of the accident.
- Call your insurance company.
Here you can find more detailed information on what to do after getting into an accident.
Is My Car Still Legal to Drive?
This question most likely can’t be answered without knowing the full extent of the damage, however, there are some clues that your car should not legally be driven after an accident. For example, if your headlights, brake lights or turn signals are not functioning, your car should not be driven. Having a cracked windshield, missing a side mirror or driving a vehicle that is leaking fluids may not only be cause for getting pulled over but can also pose a danger when driving. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if you’re unsure it’s best to have your vehicle checked out by a professional.
You can learn more about the dangers of driving with a cracked windshield here.
What Does It Mean If My Car is Smoking?
Smoke or steam coming from the engine of your vehicle can be caused by a number of issues. If you notice your car is smoking, do not drive your car, even if it’s only a short distance to your destination. Not only can smoke or steam obstruct your view, but it could also mean your car is overheating, or there is serious engine damage.
Can I Drive My Car if One of the Tires is Flat?
It’s common to get a flat tire after getting into a car accident. Again, if the flat isn’t bad and you need to drive a short distance, you may be tempted to drive your car. The fact is that even driving short distances can do serious damage to your vehicle. Don’t make matters unnecessarily worse after getting into an accident.
In addition to checking your tires, it’s also important to check and see if your wheels are properly aligned after a collision. If they are, your car is drivable, if there is faulty alignment with your wheels, your vehicle will pull to one side, which can increase your chances of swerving into another lane of traffic. Having your wheels properly aligned is an absolute must before you are can drive your vehicle again.
Making the Decision to Drive
Should you do decide to drive your car after an accident, it’s important to ensure that you operate your vehicle using extreme caution. When driving your car keep in mind that it isn’t running at 100%, and there may be problems you can’t see that are posing a threat to your safety. If notice abnormal sounds or anything else that may indicate something is wrong, it’s best to pull over and call for a tow instead of risking further damage to you, your vehicle, or other drivers.
Remember to be cautious and not make matters worse by trying to drive your car when it’s unsafe. If you’ve been in an accident, contact Ogston’s Auto Body for quality auto body repair in Duluth, MN by calling (218) 722-9464 or filling out our online form.