After years of protecting your children from danger, you now face one of the most dangerous activities: driving. Car crashes are the second leading cause of death for those between 5 and 29 years of age. In 2019, there were 36,096 motor vehicle fatalities. While the number of car crashes decreased in 2020, drivers under 20 are three times more likely to have a car accident. Statistics show that within their first year of driving, 1 in 4 teens will have an accident. Below are ways you can prepare your child if a car crash happens.
- Stay Calm
Speaking to your children about the range of emotions after a car crash is helpful. Teen drivers, like adults, can feel shocked and guilty. They might think about whether their parents will be upset and whether the other driver is hurt. This may bring fear, nervousness, and even anger.
As parents, you can coach your teen children into awareness that these are normal feelings. Exercises like taking deep breaths in and out, or counting to 10 can help calm them down to face the situation. The calmer they remain, the better able they will be to handle the aftermath of a car accident.
- Call Home
Your teen should call home immediately. If your teen driver is crying and upset, as the parent, you can provide emotional support. The parent can also remind the teen child of what they should do if nerves and anxiousness make them forget.
Calling home also allows the parent time to get to the accident scene and act as a buffer. That way, the teen driver can get a better sense of how to handle the situation. This is important mainly because the adult parent will help with insurance claims after the accident.
- Call the Police
You should instruct your teen driver to call the police. They should check with everyone inside their car to see if anyone has sustained any injuries. This information can be given to the police to request emergency assistance. Usually, the dispatcher will ask the following questions:
- The dispatcher will ask for the name and phone number of the person calling. This is necessary in case the authorities need to get in touch.
- The dispatcher will need to know the severity of the accident. They will ask questions such as whether there is a fire, traffic hazard, and a need for medical assistance.
- The dispatcher will need to know the precise location of the accident. Mile markers can help, in addition to the direction of travel (northbound, southbound, etc.), the name of the city or the road.
Even if there are no injuries, there may be times when it is advisable to still call the police. If there is a lot of damage to the vehicle, a police report can be beneficial for insurance purposes. The report will detail what the officer saw, statements from the drivers, and witness reports.
- Do Not Admit Fault
Cooperating with police during the aftermath of a car accident is essential. However, your teen driver should not admit fault. Liability is determined through investigations such as speaking with witnesses, photographs, and sometimes damage to the cars. Admitting liability or fault can complicate insurance claims and potential personal injury suits.
5. Exchange Driver Information
Requesting to exchange information with the other driver is important. You should advise your teen to take a picture with their phone of the other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license. If the other driver refuses, then your teen driver can at least write down the car’s make and model and the license plate.
It is a scary situation if your teen driver has been involved in a car accident. Consulting with a Bay Area car accident lawyer at the Dan Rose Law Firm can help you assess damages to make the right decisions for you and your family.