It can be safely said that the United States is a nation of cars, and over 200 million Americans own a valid driver’s license to operate cars, pickup trucks, and motorcycles. Millions of these vehicles are getting onto the road every single day, and for the most part, drivers are responsible and careful about how they drive. After all, everyone wants to arrive safely at their destination. Still, you are urged to play it safe every time you are on the road since there will always be unsafe drivers or bad weather that can result in a glancing blow, a fender bender, cracked windshield glass, and possibly worse. In a more serious fender bender, perhaps you got badly hurt and need emergency care, or the other driver does. So, we will now recommend tips for what to do after a fender bender in terms of your health, your car, and your future. Surviving a car accident may even be a wake-up call for you.
Fender Benders and Hazards
Why might a fender bender accident happen to you? In some cases, weather is to blame, such as snow or ice. During winter, driving is tricky, since freezing rain or frozen slush may form large patches of smooth ice that make cars slip and slide all over the place. A careless driver (such as you) may end up sliding out of control and right into another car or a piece of property. This can result in a fender bender, huge dents in the car’s doors, damage to the wheels, cracks on the windshield, and possibly some injuries to your person. During heavy rain at night, it may be difficult for you to see, and you may end up hitting another car, or they will hit you. The same is true of thick fog.
Careless drivers are an even more common hazard, and they are likely to cause a fender bender. A drunk driver, defined legally, has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, and even driving buzzed or tipsy is incredibly dangerous and strictly discouraged. Drunk drivers have impaired coordination, judgment, and reflexes, so you are urged to not only stay sober, but watch out for drunk drivers and avoid them. Drunk drivers give themselves away with their sloppy, erratic driving and constant lane changes and swerving. Distracted drivers, those preoccupied with handheld electronic devices, will be too late to see you and react, so you should beware of them too.
On a final note, try not to drive while you are very tired, as you may fall asleep behind the wheel. Even if that doesn’t happen, your coordination and reflexes are dulled, as is your attention span. Driving tired is similar to driving drunk, and therefore strongly discouraged.
Fender Benders and Repair
Car repairs are commonly done across the United States, usually after accidents, ranging from fender benders to a tire blowing out to dents in the doors. In fact, car accidents cost the U.S. some $230.60 each year, quite a sum. If you got yourself into a nasty fender bender, be prepared for the costs of repairs.
For one thing, you may face insurance rate increases if you were responsible for the accident, and you may end up having to refinance loans on your car itself to compensate. Even if you don’t need new car loans, the costs of having automotive resin put on or having dent removal done can cost a lot in some cases. If so, don’t be afraid to try and refinance your car, or sell it and buy a cheaper one. Or, if you are keeping your current car, you might have to spend cash to get replacement car accessories to replaced damaged items. You can choose between aftermarket auto parts and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts for your automobile’s repair.
What’s the difference there? Aftermarket auto parts are not brand-name for your car’s brand, but these aftermarket parts come in a huge variety of their own brands, and they tend to be less costly than brand-name auto parts are. In many cases, these parts are just as good as brand name parts, or they might even be slightly better. Be careful when doing this, though, since some aftermarket parts are low quality, and there is no guarantee that they will work in your car. Ask an auto shop mechanic for suggestions if you are not savvy on this topic.
By contrast, brand-name OEM parts are more costly, but on the plus side, they are guaranteed to fit into your car and work well, and this may be worth it for luxury cars such as a Mercedes-Benz. These OEM parts may be a little trickier to find and an auto shop may have to order them, though, and they are more costly than aftermarket parts of similar quality. Still, some car owners may prefer the performance guarantee of brand-name parts, and this might include you.
Not only might your car’s body need some work, such as refitting the damaged fender or pounding out dents in the metal, but the paint may need touching up, too. It’s not uncommon for a car’s paint job to suffer scratches or scrapes after a fender bender, and if your car’s paint looks rough, you can take it to a paint shop and ask the crew there to touch it up with whatever paint they have on hand (they will match your car’s paint color as best they can). The cost varies, and some touch-up jobs may be rather costly, but if the minor is damage, this work might be free. Overall, the cost is based on the location and extent of the damage, and there is an industry scale to describe the extent of that paint damage.
If you are handy with cars, though, you have the option to repaint your car yourself. First, open up the hood and check for a sticker on the barrier between the engine and passenger compartments. That sticker will describe your car’s paint color code, and with that reference, you can order paint online. Once it arrives, you can sand down the affected area and put down primer, and allow it to dry. Apply one paint layer after another as you like, and once that’s dry, apply sealant and allow it 24 hours to dry off. Your car’s paint job will look like new, and this will also prevent the metal underneath from rusting.
Lastly, be sure to have the glass replaced, most likely the windshield itself. Cracked glass is not only ugly, but it is distracting for drivers, and such compromised glass is likely to shatter when you drive, and that is incredibly dangerous. So, auto repair experts can remove the cracked glass and fit in new windows, solving the problem right away. Besides, having new glass boosts the car’s resale value, and helps the car pass safety inspections.
Car Accidents and Caring For Yourself
What will you do after a nasty fender bender accident? You may have gotten hurt, and if so, you may end up having time off from work while you recover. Or, your car was badly damaged and you chose to sell it to buy a much cheaper car to avoid costly repairs. Should this be the case, you’re probably not feeling too well, but you can try some self-care without breaking the bank. In some cases, you may be grateful that you survived the accident, and this may prompt you to check off some self-care activities that you’ve been meaning to do. What are some fine options?
One idea is to dive right back into your education. For example, suppose you suffered a nasty injury in the car accident, or even worse, you’ve been partially paralyzed, or for any reason, you can’t perform paying physical work anymore. This will greatly affect your life, but now is not the time for panic. Instead, you can take online classes and learn some new skills and knowledge that will help you start a new career path entirely. Now more than ever, many Americans are working from home, such as remote emergency dispatcher jobs, remote customer service jobs, and a plethora of online freelance work. SEO work, digital art work, programming jobs, and much more beckon, and the skills to do these jobs are all perfectly learnable. If you are wheelchair bound, why not spend that sitting time learning how to program or how to design websites, or learn how to become a web traffic analyst or a sales call rep?
You can also take this opportunity to get your house fixed up a bit, from emergency electrical work to having the carpets cleaned to getting new windows, or hiring a maid service. All of this can make your home more pleasant while you are recovering from your injury, and in any case, perhaps you ought to have had this work done, anyway. You don’t have to shell out for expensive remodeling contractors to transform your home; just touch up whatever you need to make your house a nice place to be in. You might swap out some shoddy old furniture for new pieces, or have charming new drapes added or have your lawn taken care of, too.
If you are physically able, you can take your mind off things and try something new and exotic, such as a getaway vacation to Florida or even Alaska. The domestic tourism industry in the United States is robust, and you can take a plane or a bus just about anywhere to feel refreshed. Nearly all surveyed Americans report that taking a vacation is very important to them, and this is a fine chance to feel recharged and renewed by the time you return home. Or, if you don’t feel like taking a plane to Hawaii, you can at least take day trips to nearby towns, cities, or state parks, and you can take a bus or have someone else drive you (you might not be in the mood to drive yourself). You may be surprised by all the charming and exotic sights and sounds you can find within your home state.
Summer programs can have a similar effect, anything from joining an amateur sports team to taking part in charity or helping build playground equipment, all the way to taking a martial arts class or a swimming class or an art class. Any of this can be greatly enriching for you, and help take your mind off of cars and auto financing. If you have a spouse and/or children, feel free to invite them along too, and make it a family activity. Many of these summer programs are family-friendly or are fully intended for families.
Let’s not forget your health, either. It’s one thing to get emergency care done after the car accident and get a leg brace or stitches or bandages. But while you’re at it, why not look into your dental health and see if you need some dental work done? Perhaps you’ve been putting off your dental needs, and now that self-care is on your mind, it’s time to get that taken care of. You can get your teeth cleaned, and even have cosmetic dentistry done, such as tooth whitening or having porcelain veneers fitted onto your teeth.
Don’t be afraid to extend this self-care to your diet and exercise levels, either. Consult your doctor and a nutritionist first, then figure out a good weight loss regimen and try it out. You may feel wonderfully in control as you adjust your diet for the better and start doing cardio or working out, and this can also take your mind off the auto accident. In fact, you might start riding a bicycle to work if it’s close enough, and this gives you exercise and fresh air while also reducing the odds of another auto accident (depending on the route you take). Many people already do this, and bicycles can travel where cars cannot, so you can avoid heavy traffic and enjoy a more scenic route to work. Good exercise, coupled with a good diet, allows you to feel better about yourself overall and even get better sleep while also reducing the risks of obesity-related illnesses.
An auto accident is a dreadful thing, even if no one was killed in the incident, and it can greatly impact your life. If you were badly hurt, your hospital bills and your loss of paying work can hurt, but you can always find new skills in a new line of work, and you can take this chance to have a new perspective on life and make the most of it. As for your car, look into whatever auto repair options you can afford, and don’t be afraid to downgrade your car if that will save you money in the long run. Ultimately, it’s just a vehicle, while a healthy financial life and personal outlook can be far more rewarding now and in the future.