The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that drivers spend an average of 46 minutes behind the wheel every day. And according to Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services, one car crash occurs every 17 minutes in our state. So even though you probably don’t spend too much time driving daily, there is a small chance you could be involved in an accident while in a vehicle.
When you ponder the possibility of a car accident, you probably think of vehicle-to-vehicle collisions first. But your car can get damaged by something other than another driver’s car. Peruse our list of three other common sources of auto body damage.
Wildlife sometimes walks across Nebraska’s highways and country roads. Deer in particular become active in October and November, so drivers should take extra caution during those months.
Animal-vehicle collisions can be dangerous to both the animals and the car’s passengers. In addition to physical injuries, the impact may severely dent the doors or panels. If the animal crashes into the windshield, the glass will likely crack or even shatter. The Insurance Information Institute reports that the average car repair costs after an animal collision are $2,000.
You can take the following steps to avoid an animal-vehicle collision:
- Drive slower in areas with animal crossing signs, especially during dawn, dusk, or nighttime hours.
- Constantly scan the road ahead when you drive in rural areas.
- If you spot a deer, honk your horn and flash your lights to scare away the animal.
- Expect to see other deer if you spot one because they travel in groups.
- Avoid making extreme turns if you cannot stop in time. Instead, brake until the last moment before impact to reduce the chances that the animal will hit your front windshield.
Also remember to exercise typical precautions at all times, such as wearing your seat belt, keeping your windshield clean, and driving sober.
One last precaution to take: make sure you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance. That coverage type will pay for damages to your vehicle if you’re involved in an animal-car collision.
- Shopping Carts
Next time you go grocery shopping, look for signage that warns you about shopping cart damage to your vehicle. You probably dismiss those cautionary words as you head in to the store, but you should break this habit. Those signs are one way the store protects itself from liability if a cart hits your car and dings the body.
Although the probability of shopping cart damage is small, it could cost you big time. If the cart hits your car at a strange angle or a high speed, it could create a huge dent in a door or a panel. Unless a store employee caused the damage, the store will likely refuse to pay for the repairs. Your collision insurance may pay for it, but your premium may go up after you make the claim.
Luckily for drivers everywhere, shopping cart auto body dings are easy to avoid. Park your car away from loose carts, or move free carts into corrals before you head in to shop. Also, be kind to other drivers and put away your own cart.
- Large Potholes
Do you have to swerve around the same pothole every day on your way to work? That little annoyance can be more than frustrating. If the pothole is large enough, it could do serious damage to your car. Obviously you should try to steer clear of potholes as much as possible-but good judgment matters too. Don’t avoid a pothole and get into a wreck instead.
Why can potholes do so much damage? When you drive over a pothole, the weight in your car becomes unevenly distributed over the tires. This uneven weight distribution amplifies the force that hits your car when you exit the pothole. The result can be dents, bends, or mechanical problems.
Specifically, if you drive over a nasty pothole, your car might experience the following problems:
- Bent tire rims, especially if you have aluminum rims
- Bulging tires
- Holes in the car’s undercarriage
- Misaligned steering
- Scratches or dents on the bumper
- Wear on shocks, struts, or the engine
Sometimes pothole damage creates noticeable symptoms. You might hear unusual noises or feel strange vibrations. You could discover new leaks under your car or realize your tires don’t look uniform anymore. These symptoms may not appear immediately, so examine your car whenever you drive over a pothole.
Ideally, you can avoid most pothole problems with a few basic steps. Keep your tires properly inflated, maintain a safe following distance, and drive slower in wet weather.
Auto body damage and car engine problems can be expensive to fix, but as the information above shows, those problems are easy to avoid. If your car does get hurt despite your best efforts, bring it to Central Body Company for expert repairs.