How to Prepare Your Teens in Case of a Car Accident
It’s no secret that teens are one of the more accident-prone groups of drivers. While we hope you never need to reference this knowledge, it’s important that you and your teen driver know what to do in case of an accident. Giving your teen an idea of what they should and shouldn’t do before they need to know goes a long way in helping them stay calm in a stressful situation. With that in mind, here is a checklist to prepare you and your teen for what to do after an accident.
Make sure you are in a safe place
If possible, move your car to the shoulder of the road or a nearby parking lot to make sure it’s not in further harm’s way from traffic. If you can’t move your car out of traffic, turn on your hazards.
Turn off your vehicle
Until you can assess the damage to your car, it’s important to turn it off. This will also help prevent having a dead battery by the time everything you need to do at the scene of the accident is taken care of.
Check on others
Make sure no one involved (this could include your passengers as well as anyone in the other vehicle) is in need of immediate medical assistance.
Call the police
Having a police report can be really helpful to the claims process. They document things most people don’t think to document (like posted speed on the road, driving conditions, etc.). So even if you have a minor fender bender, it’s important to call the police and have a report made.
Document the scene of the accident
Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, as well as any other vehicles involved. If you can, get good pictures of the vehicle conditions, as well as how the vehicles were positioned (if they haven’t been moved).
Exchange information with the other driver
Here is the information that is important to have from the other driver before leaving the scene of the accident:
- Driver/passenger names
- Contact information
- License plate numbers
- Insurance info
- Vehicle make/model
Do not discuss fault with the other party
Determining who’s at fault is important after an accident as it can impact your insurance and your driving record. However, it’s best to leave this determination up to the police and your insurance company. You can definitely discuss fault with the police officer and your insurance company, but it’s best to avoid discussing it with the other party involved. Even saying things like, “I’m sorry” can sound like an admission of fault.
Later that day
Write down all the information you can remember
It’s hard to know what information will be important down the line, so while it’s still fresh in your mind, document everything you can remember about the accident. This could include what direction you were traveling, what direction the other vehicle was traveling, approximate address of the accident, date and time of the accident, driving conditions, conditions of other people involved, etc. Having this documentation is good to refer back to in the future, and can even jog your memory.
Contact your insurance company
To initiate the claims process, contact your insurance company as soon as your are able.
Get medical assistance if needed
Most accidents do not result in major injuries, but if you have any pain or soreness following an accident – even minor – it’s a good idea to get it checked out.
Start a file of all documentation
There is a lot of paperwork to keep track of after an accident! Between insurance forms, contact information, and even medical documents, it’s a lot to organize. Start a file where you can keep everything in one place.
Giving your teen the privilege to get on the road for the first time by themselves can be a point of anxiety for a lot of parents. That’s why prepping your teen for emergency situations like accidents is beneficial to give them confidence, but also to help put your mind at ease.