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Car Accident Recovery: Is My Car Safe to Drive?

When you are in a car accident, tow trucks will arrive on the scene to whisk away any cars unable to drive. However, if your vehicle does not have evident damage preventing you from going, you might be expected to drive it home. Drivers can feel unsafe in a vehicle with car accident damage. In addition, you might not feel confident that your car is back to normal—even after repairs. 

You must get the car care you need now. If even minor car accident damage is overlooked, it can evolve into much larger problems—and you might end up paying out of pocket after your car accident has been settled. Our local mechanics are here to put your mind at ease. Here are the car concerns to look for after a car accident.

1) Ensure Safety Features are Intact

Naturally, you will first want to inspect your vehicle’s safety features before driving off of a scene. If any safety features are compromised, it is likely best to have your car towed to a mechanic. 

  • Airbags: If any of your airbags were deployed, your vehicle is not safe to drive. These airbags will need to be replaced before they can protect you again. 
  • Seatbelts: If your seat belts were cut, damaged, or proven ineffective at keeping you secure in the accident, your car might not be safe to drive. 
  • Lights: Take a moment to check your car’s safety lights—including your headlights, tail lights, and turn signal lights—to ensure they work well. You do not want to drive off after a fender bender only to find yourself left in the dark once the sun sets. 

If you want a closer look at your car’s safety features, you can read our guide to everything checked during a safety inspection. You will also likely have police officers and other professionals at a car accident sight who can provide their advice and opinions on the conditions of your car. However, it is best left to your judgment on whether or not your vehicle is safe to drive. 

2) Check Your Tires, Rims, and Wheels

Before declining to have your car towed, take a close look at your tires. If you have bent rims, flat tires, and damaged wheels, your vehicle is not safe to drive. 

Otherwise, if you choose to drive off the scene, wait until emergency professionals clear the car accident debris. You could damage a tire if you go over any lingering hardware, glass, or metal components.

Additionally, a mechanic should check your wheel alignment and tire health following an accident. If a car accident throws off your tire alignment, you will begin to experience excessive and uneven treadwear. 

3) Take Extra Caution When Driving

Your car is a network of parts and systems that must work together for you to safely and successfully drive. One slight disconnect has the potential to throw off your vehicle. Additionally, not all of these elements are easy to check visually—such as the brakes and suspension.

If you choose to drive after a car accident, be sure to take it easy—especially before having your vehicle inspected by a mechanic. If any of your vehicle functions feel unusual or unsafe, do not hesitate to pull over and call a tow truck. It can take an expert’s insight to understand what is happening under the hood. 

Other Considerations for Driving After a Car Accident

Car accidents are overwhelming, and it can be easy to delay or avoid some vital steps. While any medical care is the most important, you should next have your vehicle looked at by a professional. Experts can assess the damages and ensure your vehicle is safe to drive. 

Additionally, if you wait months to have your vehicle checked out, insurance companies might claim that the damage was caused outside of the accident. There are two shops that you should plan to visit with your car:

  • Body shop: A body shop will examine the exterior of your vehicle (such as dents and paint damage). 
  • Mechanic: Your mechanic will inspect your vehicle’s interior—including the engine and vehicle safety components.

When you visit the mechanic, mention that your car was in an accident. They will know what to look for and can give you service recommendations tailored to your vehicle. 

Chapel Hill Tire: Mechanics in the Triangle

If your car is damaged in an accident, you can visit the nearest Chapel Hill Tire—or have your vehicle towed to our shop. Our expert mechanics will take care of your vehicle and ensure it is safe for you to drive. We will also provide you with any repair estimates you might need for your insurance. Best of all, our experts provide all of the mechanic services you might need for your vehicle’s car accident recovery—from alignments to full engine replacements and even the detailing you might need for your interior. Chapel Hill Tire has 9 locations across Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. You can make an appointment, browse our coupons, or give us a call to get started today!

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