Getting your driver’s license is an exhilarating and terrifying experience.
It’s more terrifying for a parent than exhilarating when your teen first gets alone behind the wheel.
You’ve prepared your teenage driver for parallel parking and three-point turns, but it’s also your duty to parent your child after their first car accident.
Although teen drivers represent only 6.5% of the population, their chances of getting into a car accident are triple that of drivers over the age of 20, according to the CDC.
So what you do after your teen is in a car accident starts with what you did before they got behind the wheel.
Causes of Teenage Driving Accidents:
On the road, driver inexperience is the primary cause of most teenage driving accidents.
Distracted driving can contribute, especially if teenagers are in the car talking or the teenager is alone and trying to change radio stations.
Reckless driving–the movies make it look glamorous, and there is the thrill, but the rules of the road, including the speed limit, should be followed at all times.
Texting and driving are other causes of driving accidents.
Enforce a no-phone policy while driving.
No message cannot wait until the teenager pulls off the road or reaches her destination.
Check out this guide to being the super parent your teenage needs after a car accident.
What to Do When Your Teenager Is in a Car Accident
When supporting your teenager after a car accident, remind yourself and them to remain calm.
For new drivers, your first car accident can be jarring and traumatic.
A teenager’s mind may be racing with a surge of adrenaline, making it harder to focus on the bigger picture.
Taking a moment to collect yourself helps you better deal with the situation.
Survey the Damage and Secure the Vehicle
After regaining clarity, your teenage driver needs to determine how severe the damage may be.
After taking a breath, your teen driver should check to see if they can get out of the car.
If they cannot move or open any doors, they should call 911 for help and remain calm until help arrives.
If the vehicle’s damage isn’t too critical, then moving the car to a safer location where the vehicle is not obstructing traffic is the next step.
Once your teen takes a breath and determines the severity, they should take notes, photos, and videos of the event.
Take care to capture everything.
These photos aren’t for their Instagram followers, so no filters.
The more detailed description they can provide, the better gauge everyone can get of exactly what happened before, during, and after the accident.
Exchange Infomation and Contact Insurance
The Insurance Information Institute reposts that the number of uninsured motorists has been steadily climbing annually since 2010.
While the officer on the scene will provide all drivers involved in a car accident with an accident report, it still a smart and precautions step to exchange with the other drivers.
Make sure your teen driver allows a copy of their insurance information.
Reaching out to your insurance company is the next step.
They want to reach out to an insurance agent as soon as possible, even from the accident scene, to ensure that the details are as accurate as can be.
Contact a Lawyer:
Whether there is a major injury or another driver, remind your teenage driver that it is ill-advised to discuss the blame for the accident with the other insurance company before talking to your car accident attorney.
However exciting the amount of freedom associated with this rite of passage is, the level of responsibility is high.
No parent wants to receive a call notifying them that their teenage driver has been in a car accident.
Take the time to educate your teen on being a smart, safe, and skilled driver before they get behind the wheel.