Can I Continue to Drive My Car After an Accident?

You’ve just been in a car accident in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now what do you do? You may have walked away without a scratch, but that doesn’t mean you’re 100% comfortable getting back behind the wheel. How do you know whether your car is safe enough to drive? There may be minimal external dents, scrapes, and bumps, but what about potential mechanical problems? Will continuing to drive your car put the safety of yourself, the vehicle, and others on the road at risk?

This is an issue that post-accident drivers face all the time. If you’ve been in a minor crash, you may be able to get away with driving your car until you can get it repaired at an auto-body shop. But how can you tell where to draw the line? Though the answer isn’t always clear-cut, our top San Francisco car accident lawyers have a few warning signs you should be aware of if you ever find yourself facing a tough decision.

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What’s the Law for Driving a Vehicle After an Accident in San Francisco?

In California, there’s no cut-and-dry law stating whether or not you’re allowed to drive a vehicle after an accident. Generally, the responding police officer will be able to analyze your vehicle and assess its damage to determine if it’s legally permitted on the road.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s important to confirm that all main safety areas are functioning properly. If you have no major issues and can manage to operate your vehicle with full assurance that it’s safe and secure for you and other drivers, chances are that you meet legal requirements. Ask the responding police officer to advise you based on the state of your vehicle.

person taking a picture of a rear end car accident with their phone

What to Consider About Your Vehicle’s Condition After an Accident

When analyzing your vehicle, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are your headlights, turn signals, and brake lights functioning properly? Despite there being 60 percent less traffic on the roads, more than 40 percent of all fatal car accidents occur at night. That’s why it’s so important to confirm that your lights are still functioning properly, including your turn signals. It doesn’t happen often, but you have to be aware of further damaging your vehicle or endangering yourself and others after you leave the scene of the crash.
  • Do you have full control over the vehicle’s ability to steer? Sometimes after a crash, a vehicle’s ability to steer is impaired. Often, this is the result of faulty alignment with your wheels, which can pull your vehicle to one side and cause you to swerve into another lane of traffic. Confirm that everything is in full working order before hitting the road.
  • Are you able to keep your hood, doors, and license plates securely attached? Make sure the lock mechanisms throughout your car are still intact. The last thing you want is your trunk or hood popping open in the middle of your commute. Likewise, make sure that your license plate is still fully attached and visible.
  • Is your vehicle leak-free? If you see any fluids leaking from your vehicle, you shouldn’t drive. This could be a coolant or antifreeze leak which could cause your engine to overheat. Likewise, a brake fluid leak could cause brake failure.

It’s important to err on the side of caution. If you’re at all hesitant, ask for help. Avoiding the cost of a tow truck may seem pennywise, but it won’t be if it means you may further damage your vehicle or put yourself and others at risk.

Are You in Good Health to Drive After a Car Accident?

After getting into a car accident, it’s perhaps even more important to consider your own health than the state of your vehicle. The same kind of rules that concern the state of your vehicle apply to your own wellbeing. That is, consider if your own injury could be putting others on the road in danger. Likewise, once again, it’s important to err on the safe side. If you feel injured in the slightest, it’s probably a good idea to call a tow truck.

Some insurance companies will cover the cost of the tow, and if the accident was caused by the other driver, it would be up to their insurance to compensate you for the bill.

The bottom line is that you probably shouldn’t drive your vehicle after you’ve gotten into an accident unless it’s still in near perfect condition and you’re completely unharmed. Otherwise, some of our top car accident lawyers in San Francisco warn that it may not be worth the danger.

Male Motorist With A Whiplash Injury after a Car Crash Getting Out Of the Vehicle before calling The Barnes Firm Injury Attorneys
Male Motorist With A Whiplash Injury after a Car Crash Getting Out Of the Vehicle before calling The Barnes Firm Injury Attorneys

Are You in Good Health to Drive After a Car Accident?

After getting into a car accident, it’s perhaps even more important to consider your own health than the state of your vehicle. The same kind of rules that concern the state of your vehicle apply to your own wellbeing. That is, consider if your own injury could be putting others on the road in danger. Likewise, once again, it’s important to err on the safe side. If you feel injured in the slightest, it’s probably a good idea to call a tow truck.

Some insurance companies will cover the cost of the tow, and if the accident was caused by the other driver, it would be up to their insurance to compensate you for the bill.

The bottom line is that you probably shouldn’t drive your vehicle after you’ve gotten into an accident unless it’s still in near perfect condition and you’re completely unharmed. Otherwise, some of our top car accident lawyers in San Francisco warn that it may not be worth the danger.

Contact San Francisco’s Trusted Car Accident Lawyers

If you’ve been in a car accident as a result of someone else’s negligence in the San Francisco Bay Area, consider reaching out to the expert attorneys at The Barnes Firm. We’ll launch a legal investigation into your case and the circumstances leading up to the crash in order to provide you with the soundest case possible. We’ll work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.

Our top car accident lawyers in San Francisco are trial-tested, and have years of experience that can help you obtain the best result possible To schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable auto accident attorneys, call The Barnes Law Firm or fill out our online contact form today.

The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000