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Knowing When to Tow & When to Drive Away

Auto collisions happen every day with varying degrees of severity. In some cases, auto collisions result in minor, mostly cosmetic bumps, but in others, the damage can be much more serious. In some cases, it may seem like the vehicle has escaped relatively unscathed, only to discover the hidden damage. In that type of situation, driving the car after an auto collision could not only result in more damage, but it could pose a threat to other road users.

How can you tell whether it is safe to drive away from a collision and when it is best to call for a tow? We’ve put together a few helpful hints:

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1 – Check the Vehicle for Visible Damage

When it comes to more severe auto collisions, the damage to the vehicles is usually fairly obvious. If you need to decide whether or not you should be calling a tow truck, take a walk around the car and note its condition. If there are body panels or mechanical parts hanging loose, then you should not attempt to drive the vehicle. Not only could these get more extensively damaged, thus bumping up your repair bill, but they could come loose and hit another road user resulting in further auto collisions. It's safer all around to call for a tow truck to remove the vehicle from the scene.

There are other types of visible damage such as dents, scratches, or detached bumpers that won’t require the vehicle to be towed. As long as the damage is not interfering with moving parts, causing an obstruction, or likely to come loose then it is usually safe to drive away.

2 – Look for Signs of Hidden Damage

Sometimes, the damage sustained in auto collisions is not immediately noticeable. That’s why it is essential to look out for signs of hidden damage. If you notice smoke, leaking fluids, or a strange noise, then it is likely there is some mechanical damage. If this is the case then getting the vehicle towed is advisable.

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3 – When in Doubt Get it Checked Out!

When you are involved in an auto collision, it can be difficult to think clearly. It is only natural to be a little shaken up, and that often means we cannot rely on our senses the way we usually would. Can you smell gas? Is that a new noise the car is making? Doubts may begin to creep in, and you may not trust your judgment. In this situation, we would advise asking someone else for advice or opting to call for a tow.

Even if the damage does turn out to be minor, at least you know that tow will cost a set amount. Driving a car away following auto collisions could increase the damage resulting in a much higher repair bill.


Founded in Chicago, IL in 1937, Gerber Collision & Glass has provided quality auto collision and auto glass repair work for more than seventy years. What started as a single auto glass and trim shop has grown to be part of the largest auto collision and glass repair companies in North America.


Call Us Now at 1-877-7GERBER or Schedule an Appointment Online!

DISCLAIMER: This article is presented for informational purposes only and should not be seen as any kind of advice. The information provided herein or linked to via this article is 'as is' with no guarantee of accuracy or completeness. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

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