You can never be too careful on the roads of Vancouver, or any city for that matter. According to ICBC, as of January, 2016, there were 1,632,402 registered cars in Metro Vancouver. That’s a lot of cars, and a lot of potential to get into an accident.
If you are in the unfortunate situation of experiencing an accident on the road, there’s a good chance you will be shaken up. Even small fender benders will cause a release of adrenaline that could turn into anger or shock. From there, it can be tough to think clearly or make good decisions.
We bring this up because we get a lot of people asking whether they should get a tow or drive after an accident. And while of course it depends on the severity of the accident (ie. don’t drive if your car has been crumpled like an accordion), there are several factors to consider before making that decision.
We want you and everyone else to be safe on the roads. So here are a few things to keep in mind and watch out for, even after a small accident, before you get behind the wheel.
Is there any visible damage?
After you’ve exchanged insurance information (if necessary) and have checked for any physical injuries, take some time to visually examine what and where the damage to the vehicle is. Especially if you have some experience with car repair, you might be able to make a decision about whether or not you can drive based on how much damage you see.
Remember, not all damage is visible
What you may not be able to see right away is whether or not your vehicle has undergone structural damage. If you think your car has had damage to the frame, for example, this is the type of situation that you are better off being safe than sorry. Or if your car’s steering or brakes have been compromised in an accident, which can happen even in small accidents, you are putting yourself and other people on the roads at risk.
Check for other signs
There might be other indications that your vehicle is not drivable. If you can smell gas, smoke or other fluids that might be leaking, you should stop right there and call a tow. Or if you start to drive but notice that the vehicle is making strange sounds, pull over, turn the car off and call for a tow.
Check in with yourself
As mentioned, accidents can set off a physiological response that can cloud your judgment. This is not the kind of mental space you want to be in while operating a vehicle. Even if the accident seems small and the damage seems insignificant, you might not be entirely capable of driving. Remember that you are not the only one on the road, there are other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to consider.
It is always best to err on the side of safety. If you think there is even a slight risk that your vehicle is not drivable or that you are feeling too affected to be safe on the road, call a tow. When it comes to taking a car on the road after an accident, it’s better to be safe than sorry.