I Just Had An Accident. Is My Car Safe To Drive?

car on road with flat tire and structural damage

You’ve just had an accident. Now what? One of the biggest issues people struggle with after an accident is knowing whether or not they can drive their car. Obviously you have some external damage, but how do you know when that damage extends far enough inward to cause mechanical problems as well? And when the damage goes inward, how do you know when the damage is so extensive it makes driving your car unsafe or risks furthering the damage? These are just a few of the questions asked by drivers who’ve been in an accident. Luckily the Schaefer auto body shop team can give you a few pointers to help you out on these questions and more.

What is the law for driving my car after I’ve been in an accident?

This question is not entirely cut and dry. Likely after an accident you or the other driver will have contacted the police to assist you and file a report. The responding officer will be able to assess the damage on your vehicle and let you know whether or not it meets all necessary legal standards for being on the road. These include: Are your headlights, turn signals and brake lights functioning properly? Is your vehicle leaking fluids? Do you have full control over the vehicle steering? Are you able to keep your license plates securely attached? A good rule of thumb would be to check all main safety function areas. If you’re still able to operate your vehicle with regard to basic safety and have no other major issues, chances are you should be meeting your legal requirements.

My engine is smoking. Does this mean my car is undrivable?

Smoke coming from your engine can be caused by a variety of issues. It may not be smoke at all. It may be steam. Either way, these conditions make driving your vehicle unsafe. Even if your goal is to drive a short distance to get your car home to make repair arrangements, the smoke or steam could obstruct your view and unless you’re well-versed in vehicle engine systems chances are you aren’t sure what engine system it’s coming from. True, the smoke or steam may stop on its own and your dash may indicate your car isn’t overheating, but there still may be serious engine damage done. Err on the side of caution and call for assistance rather than driving yourself.

Is it safe to drive a car on a flat tire?

If in the course of an accident you happen to get a flat tire and perhaps are so lucky you haven’t had one before, take a word from Schaefer Autobody – don’t drive on a flat. This may seem like common sense but there are those that might think to themselves “It won’t be so bad. I’m not going far.” Even short distances can do serious damage. Don’t make matters worse after an accident unnecessarily.

Take it from us, damage done from an accident is bad enough. Be cautious and don’t make matters worse by trying to drive your car when it’s unsafe. If you’ve been in an accident, Schaefer Autobody’s white glove towing service will take care of your vehicle and get it safely to the auto body shop so that you can get your repairs underway as fast as possible.

Get started on your repair by scheduling an estimate today.