8 Things to Teach Your Teenage Driver on What to Do After a Car Accident

As a parent, one of the most nerve-racking experiences is handing over the car keys to your teenager for the first time. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the US, with about 2,800 teens aged 13–19 killed and around 227,000 injured in crashes in 2020 alone.

young woman by the car after an accident and a man making a phone call.

While you hope your teen never gets into an accident, it’s crucial to prepare them for that possibility. Here are eight essential things to teach your teenage driver about what to do if they’re involved in a car accident.

1. Stay Calm and Move to Safety

The first step after any accident is to remain calm and move the vehicle to the side of the road or a safe area, if possible. Instruct your teen to turn on their hazard lights and exit the vehicle when it’s safe to do so. Advise them to move away from traffic and wait for help in a secure location. About 44% of teen motor vehicle crash deaths occurred between 9 pm and 6 am in 2020, so emphasize the importance of finding a well-lit area at night.

2. Call Emergency Services

Once in a safe place, your teen should call 911 or the local emergency number to report the accident, even if it seems minor. Explain that they should provide their location, a brief description of what happened, and any injuries sustained. Data from 2020 shows that 56% of teens aged 16–19 who were killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. Remind your teen to inform the dispatcher if anyone is unbelted or trapped in the vehicle.

3. Exchange Information with the Other Driver

If the accident involves another driver, teach your teen to exchange contact and insurance information. This includes full names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance details. Advise them not to admit fault or provide any statements about the accident beyond the basic facts.

4. Document the Car Accident Scene

Instruct your teen to take photos or videos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries, if it’s safe to do so. These visuals can help document what happened and support insurance claims. Additionally, suggest they write down the time, location, weather conditions, and a brief description of the events while the details are fresh.

5. Render Reasonable Assistance

Depending on the severity of the accident, your teen may need to provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured. This could involve calling for medical help, rendering first aid if trained, or ensuring everyone’s safety until emergency responders arrive. However, caution them not to move injured individuals unless absolutely necessary for their immediate safety.

6. Cooperate with Authorities

If the police respond to the scene, teach your teen to cooperate fully, provide accurate information, and follow all instructions. Advise them to avoid admitting fault or making statements about the accident beyond the basic facts. In 2020, 29% of drivers ages 15–20 who were killed in crashes had been drinking, even though it’s illegal for those under 21. Remind your teen never to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

7. Consider Consulting a Car Accident Lawyer

Depending on the circumstances, it may be wise for your teen to consult a car accident lawyer, especially if there are injuries, significant damage, or disputes over fault. An attorney can protect your teen’s rights and ensure they receive fair compensation if they have been injured in a car accident. A lawyer can investigate thoroughly, handle communications, and fight for maximum compensation if your teen was not at fault.

By teaching your teenage driver what to do in a car accident you can help them stay safe, minimize further harm, and handle the aftermath properly. With your guidance and these eight steps, your teen will be better prepared to navigate this challenging scenario responsibly.

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