Can I Drive My Vehicle After an Accident?
When is it Safe to Drive and When to Tow
Accidents come in a variety of forms. They can be as minor as bumping into the garbage can or scraping the fence, to as terrible as rollover and train strikes. Obviously the major accidents you aren’t going to drive away from them. But what about those that aren’t quite as bad? Is it safe to drive your vehicle after an accident?
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, our number one goal is to make sure that you’re safe. That means we are providing you a bunch of information that will help you be a better driver, have more knowledge about the repair process, and ultimately keep you safer. That’s how we are working toward being the best auto body repair shop in Billings. Here’s a checklist of when it’s safe or isn’t safe to drive after an accident.
Don’t Drive If Any of These Are Present
Injuries – If the accident was severe enough to cause injuries, it is reasonable to assume that the vehicle won’t be safe to drive. Of course use your best judgment; if the injury is very minor things might be ok.
Non-Working Lights – A major area of concern is whether or not it’s even legal to drive your vehicle. Are your headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals all in good order? If any of them aren’t working, then you shouldn’t be driving on the streets.
Missing or Broken Mirrors – Legally you have to have two functioning mirrors to drive. Most accidents won’t damage your rearview mirror, but many of them could remove your side mirrors. If both the driver’s side and passenger’s side mirrors are broken, damaged, or missing, you shouldn’t be driving the vehicle.
Leaking Fluids – Modern vehicles shouldn’t leak any fluid. If yours is leaking coolant, you risk overheating. Leaking oil, you risk major engine damage. Leaking gasoline, you risk fire. Even a short drive can cause major damage and be a risk.
Bent or Broken Wheels – A visual inspection comes first to ensure that the wheels and axles aren’t bent or broken. If everything else checks out, and you start to drive noticing the vehicle pulls or simply doesn’t feel right, then it’s not safe to drive.
Hood Won’t Latch – Many accidents cause damage to the hood. If the hood won’t latch, you risk it flying up and blocking your vision. When you can’t see out the front, it’s highly likely that you will end up in another accident.
Broken Glass – Broken glass doesn’t always mean you can’t drive, but it often does. A busted windshield is likely to be an issue due to limited visibility. But if you backed into a tree and the branch broke out the rear window, it may not be so bad. Use your judgment, as most wrecks that break glass are bad enough to disable the vehicle.
Points to Ponder Before Driving
If you inspect the vehicle and it looks ok to drive, you still may not want to. Here are a few more considerations before you jump behind the wheel.
Hesitant to Drive – If for whatever reason you are hesitant, don’t risk it. Have it towed.
Let Insurance Work – If you have full coverage, it should include towing. If you were hit, their insurance will cover the cost of the towing. You can have them towed to Big Sky Collision Center directly, or wherever you choose.
Don’t Negate Insurance – If you drive and the drive causes more damage to the vehicle, your insurance may deny the claim for the additional damage. In addition, if you cause another accident, your insurance company may deny those claims as well.
Deductibles Apply Per Accident – If you drive and you do get in another wreck, at the very least you will owe two deductibles (they apply to each wreck).
Bring it to Big Sky, Let Us Worry About It
After an accident you have a lot on your mind. Don’t worry about inspecting the vehicle and trying to figure out if it is safe to drive. Have the towing company bring it to Big Sky Collision Center, and we will handle insurance claims, repairs, and the whole works. In this time of turmoil, it’s one less thing that you have to think about.
Need to bring your vehicle in? Call us at 406-259-6328 and we can get you on the schedule.