On the Road Again: Back to Driving After an Accident

Many drivers will have an accident or perhaps more than one during their time driving. Some accidents could be the driver’s fault, whereas others might be caused by other drivers or even pedestrians, cyclists, or other hazards. If you have an accident, it can cause you some problems, ranging from injury to the expense of repairing your car. Getting back on the road is often a priority afterward, especially for those who need to drive to get to work. It’s not always as simple as just getting back into your car and driving away, though. There are often a few things you need to do to start driving again.

Make Sure Your Car Is In Good Health

If you’re lucky, being in an accident won’t damage your car much at all. You might come out of it with some minor scratches or a small dent, but your car could still be in working order. In some other cases, you might not be so lucky. Sometimes, your car is completely totaled, and there’s no saving it. Or you might have some extensive damage you need to repair before you can safely drive your vehicle. Before you start driving again after an accident, particularly one that wasn’t just a small bump, it’s a good idea to have your car checked over. Although it might look ok from the outside, there could be underlying problems.

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Ensure You’re Physically Healthy

Much like your vehicle, you too could have hidden problems, even if you look ok from the outside. Making sure that you’re physically healthy after being in an accident is important, especially before you start driving again. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, you might have needed to seek medical attention. Perhaps a paramedic helped you at the scene, or you saw a doctor after. Before you start driving again, it’s important to deal with any physical issues that might have been identified. While some problems certainly won’t stop you driving, others could make it uncomfortable or difficult. For example, if you suffer whiplash, it could make it hard to turn your head while driving, limiting your field of vision. It’s important that you’re able to drive safely.

It’s also important to know about the side effects of any medications you might be taking. For example, if you’ve been prescribed any painkillers or anything for stress or anxiety, they could cause side effects. These effects might mean that you’re not safe to drive, perhaps leaving you feeling woozy or with slow reaction times. Make sure you’re aware of potential side effects, and that you keep track of how you’re feeling.

Dealing with Post-accident Anxiety

As well as physical issues, you could find that you’re dealing with some emotional problems after your accident too. It’s not unusual to feel apprehensive about getting back in your car, even just to drive the routes you normally take. In fact, you might feel nervous about going back to the scene of the accident. But it’s important to address these anxieties to ensure they don’t develop into avoidant behavior. Many people need to be able to drive to go to work or to do other daily tasks. Some people might see a therapist after an accident. However, you can do other things, like talking to someone you trust, going to a support group, or calling a helpline.

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Ease Yourself Back into Driving

Once you’re sure you’re fine and that your car is roadworthy, you’ll want to think about driving again. If you’re feeling nervous, you don’t have to throw yourself back into it. You can take your time and ease yourself in so that you can slowly build your confidence. Start off with a few short drives, just to help you feel comfortable behind the wheel again. It’s important not to avoid the place where your accident occurred, assuming you live near there. You might want to consider taking a defensive driving course or something similar to help you get your confidence back. Reminding yourself of what you’ve already learned and adding to your driving skills can give you the confidence to drive again.

Sorting Insurance Issues

Sometimes, you might want to take a look at your insurance after you’ve had an accident. You might need to make a claim, which could mean that your premiums go up. Or perhaps you’ve felt unsatisfied with the way that your insurance provider handled things after your accident. Both of these things might make you want to consider switching your insurance. Some companies can offer cheap car insurance even to those who have had an accident in the past. Even if you don’t want to switch your insurance provider, you might spend some time sorting out a claim with your current one. It can be stressful, but try not to let it get to you.

Deal with Legal Consequences

Sometimes, there might be legal issues to deal with before you’re able to get back on the road. The most important thing to deal with is any criminal charges you could potentially face, as well as civil issues. If you are facing potential criminal charges, you might not be allowed to drive, and you could face some consequences if you’re convicted too. If you’re found at fault in an accident, you could end up losing your license for a period of time or have driving restrictions placed on you. Even if you’re not facing any criminal issues, you might need to deal with civil action from other parties involved in the accident. It might not stop you driving, but it could have a financial impact on you or take up a lot of your time. Your insurance provider will often help you out, and many people benefit from hiring a lawyer too.

Getting a New Car

Finding out that you can no longer drive your car isn’t exactly great news. But if your vehicle is a write-off, it means you’re going to have to look for a new one. There could be some other reasons you might trade in your car. Perhaps you no longer feel confident or safe in your current one, or you’d like something with better safety features. If you decide to look for a new car, you should explore your options. Your insurance provider could help to replace a totaled car, which will make things easier. If you want to be certain your new car is safe, a brand new model is your best bet. However, you can also go to reputable deals that take every measure to ensure a used car is as safe as possible.

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If Your Accident Happened at Work

Some people need to be able to drive for their job, not just to get there but to fulfill their job description. If your accident happens while you’re working, it’s important that your employer offers you support. They should be helping to deal with insurance as the insurance policy should belong to them. They should also manage any damage to your vehicle, assuming that it belongs to the company and isn’t your personal vehicle. A good employer will also help their employee to get back to work after an accident and support you if you need to take time off. They might also help with any legal issues that could arise from the accident, especially if protecting their employee will help to protect their company.

Getting back on the road after having an accident can be tough, but you need to do it at some point. Don’t rush it, and you’ll be able to build your confidence.

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