Can I Continue to Drive My Car After an Accident in Miami, FL?
April 29, 2022 | Sagi Shaked
You’re on your way to an important event when suddenly, you find yourself in a car wreck. After everything has seemingly been taken care of, you ask yourself whether you should drive your car or not. Obviously, the answer depends heavily on the condition of the vehicle. But there are also other important factors to consider.
The Law and Driving Your Car After an Accident in Miami, FL
According to Florida Motor Vehicle Code Sections 316.061 and 316.071, you are required to move your car to a safe place after an accident. But does this necessarily mean you are allowed to drive it away once the accident scene has been cleared and processed?
Aside from the codes just mentioned, there is no specific law that addresses driving a vehicle after an accident. However, the general principles of road safety apply to every situation involving a driver on the road.
Safely Driving Your Car After an Accident in Miami, FL
When deciding whether to drive your car after an accident in Miami, FL, two factors to consider are your condition and the vehicle’s condition. If either is compromised to a certain extent, you will not be able to safely drive your car away.
Although you’re not a medical professional, you’ll be able to assess your physical condition after an accident. How are your vision and your motor skills?
Make sure you’re not suffering from:
- Broken bones
- Numbness or paralysis
In many cases, you may not even be injured. However, you might suffer from a bit of shock and post-adrenaline jitters.
With that being said, your skill at self-diagnosing an injury, especially an internal or brain injury, is limited if you’re not a professional. If you did receive some form of trauma to your body or head, you should absolutely get checked out before driving away.
Call first responders to give you a once-over, and even consider calling a friend to pick up your car if you’re advised not to drive.
Your Car’s Condition
Once you’ve established you are in an acceptable condition to drive, the next step is assessing your vehicle. Florida law states that any vehicle you operate must be in good condition and have all of the parts necessary to drive safely.
First and foremost, find out whether you can enter and sit in the car normally and buckle your seat belt. If you cannot do either of these, then you cannot legally drive the car safely (which, by definition, requires you to be seated in a normal fashion and buckled up).
If you can enter and sit in the car without a problem, see if the steering wheel, pedals, and gears respond normally. If there is any grinding, drag, or locking, your car is probably too dangerous to drive.
Don’t forget your views. If any of them are obstructed or broken, including the windshields, windows, and rearview mirrors, you’ll put yourself in a dangerous situation by driving.
Your lights are also important. If you lost your brake lights after getting rear-ended, this could cause you to wind up in a second rear-end accident. And this time, it would be your fault.
Also, check out your headlights to make sure they still illuminate. You wouldn’t want to drive away and have the sun go down during your journey. Even if you can make your trip before nightfall, you may still need your lights for tunnels or sections of highway that require illuminated headlights during the day.
Put Safety First
The bottom line: if you want to drive your car after an accident in Miami, FL, you should assess the safety of that proposition. Take the time to get yourself checked out if you’ve received any trauma, and realistically evaluate the damage and operability of your vehicle before getting back behind the wheel.