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Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents, making up almost a third of all crashes and almost half of all collisions involving more than one vehicle. Fortunately, this type of accident is less likely than a head-on collision to cause serious bodily harm or vehicular damage. But getting rear-ended is still dangerous, and you may experience a variety of car problems after a rear-end collision.
Rear-end accident damage can be sneaky. Depending on the speed and angle of the collision and the size of the vehicles involved, you may not even see any visible damage. That doesn’t always mean you’re in the clear.
Keep reading to learn about car problems that can occur after a rear-end collision and what you should do to make sure everything is working as it should.
What is a rear-end collision?
Rear-end collisions occur when a trailing car’s front bumper makes contact with the back of the car in front of them. These types of accidents can happen anywhere on the road and at virtually any speed.
The majority of rear-end collisions occur at lower speeds, usually at stop signs, red lights, and congested traffic where cars are likely to stop suddenly. However, they can also happen on freeways at high speeds, often as a result of a distracted rear driver or a front car having to suddenly break due to unexpected debris or pedestrians on the road.
Steps You Should Take After A Rear End Collision
Any time your car comes into contact with another vehicle or object, you need to stop to ensure everyone’s okay, exchange information, and check for damage. It’s also important to take certain steps to protect your financial and legal interests in the event that the other driver isn’t honest.
Here’s what you should do immediately following a rear-end collision:
- Check for injuries. Keep in mind that you may not feel injuries until the adrenaline of the crash has faded.
- Move to safety. If your car is blocking traffic or likely to cause another accident and is drivable, you should also move it to a safe location. Otherwise put the hazard lights on.
- Don’t admit fault. Even if you think you’re to blame, it’s important not to take responsibility at the scene.
- Notify the police. File a report and tell them the truth about everything you remember.
- Take photos. It’s important to make sure you have evidence of the scene and any damage to your car.
- Exchange information. Get the full names, phone numbers, insurance and driver’s license info, and plate numbers of all involved drivers. Also write down the makes, models, and colors of the vehicles and the location, date, and time of the accident. It’s a good idea to exchange information with any witnesses as well.
- Call your insurance provider. If possible, try to do this from the scene. Tell them the details of the accident and ask any questions you have about filing an auto claim.
- See a doctor. Before you worry about your car, it’s important to make sure you’re okay and that you get any necessary medical treatment.
- Take your car in to check for damage. Even if you don’t see any noticeable dents, scratches, or broken parts, there may be hidden damage that can impact the function and value of your vehicle.
What Problems to Check For After a Rear End Collision
Even if you don’t see any visual evidence of damage following the incident, it’s a good idea to get your car checked out by a reliable collision repair shop to insure that there aren’t any problems, as hidden damage can still impact the functionality of your car.
A crushed or misaligned frame may not be immediately noticeable. But it can significantly impact your level of control while driving, causing your car to drift to one side of the road. Crooked frames can also put unnecessary stress on other important parts of your vehicle.
Bumpers are located at the front and back of your car. Modern bumpers are metal bars surrounded by a plastic frame, which is usually the first thing to get damaged in a rear-end collision. This damage most often manifests in the form of dents, and can usually be repaired without replacing any parts.
The suspension on a car is a protective system of springs and shocks that absorb energy from your tires and maintain stability and control on uneven road surfaces. This system can be impacted during a rear-end collision and can significantly affect the way your car drives and your ability to maintain control while driving.
If you notice your “check engine” light is on after a rear-end collision, it’s possible that your engine has shifted or been damaged and you should take your car in to get checked as soon as possible.
Modern cars are more electronically advanced than ever before. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of this is that even small collisions can loosen the wires that connect to your tail lights, brake lights, or other electrical features. These components are essential to basic road safety, so you should get them fixed if they’ve sustained any damage following a rear-end collision.
Even if there’s no structural damage to your car and it drives just fine, there may be cosmetic damage. Dings, minor dents, scratches, and scuffs are all considered cosmetic issues for the most part. They may not impact how your car functions, but they can lower the value of your car. Many – but not all – auto insurance policies cover the cost of cosmetic repairs.
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