Teenage drivers, or those between 15 and 19 years old, are three times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than drivers over 20. Around one in every four teens will experience some level of collision during their first year of driving. Unfortunately, most teenagers panic when an accident occurs and they don’t know what to do.
Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road. In 2020, the NSC reports that only nine states saw a drop in motor vehicle deaths.
That’s why it is so important for parents and teachers to educate teen drivers on what to do if they are in an auto accident. Prepare them in advance for the reality that they could be in an accident at some point.
What to Do after a Car Crash
Whether your teen is a driver or frequently rides with other young drivers, it is important that they know how to handle a car crash situation. Put together by auto accident lawyers in Douglasville, GA, here are some pointers from car accident lawyers.
- Remain Calm
The immediate aftermath of a car crash can be scary. Teenagers should know that it’s okay to be scared, but that they need to remain calm. Panic and anxiety will only worsen the situation when it comes time to talk to the other party or police. Teenagers should also be aware that emotions like stress cause adrenaline to surge through the body. This can mask pain from injuries, which means they may not get adequate help.
- Keep Everyone Safe
After calming down, teen drivers and passengers should take stock of the situation. They should be calm enough to make sure that everyone else involved is okay. Someone at the scene should call 911, and if there are injuries (of any severity), an ambulance should be requested. If the teen has an emergency kit in their car, they can use road flares or warning cones to alert oncoming traffic.
- Wait at a Safe Location
Teach your teen the importance of waiting for first responders in a safe location. Many roadway injuries and fatalities are caused by vehicles hitting bystanders. Teens should move to the side of the road away from traffic if at all possible until help arrives.
- Take Notes
Teach your teen driver to take notes if an accident does happen. Document where it is, the time, date, and names of anyone involved. Have them take photographs of the accident scene, including damage, nearby landmarks, and as much of the entire accident as possible.
- Exchange Information
When it is safe and police have arrived, your teen should exchange information with other drivers and witnesses. Instruct them to exchange name, contact information, and insurance policy information. Your teen should always have his or her driver’s license and insurance information available when they are driving, so they should have no problem providing this information to other parties.
- Don’t Make Statements
You should make sure that your teen driver knows not to make statements to anyone until they have talked to you first. Ideally, you and your teen will speak with a car accident lawyer before making any statements to insurance companies. Your teen should never admit fault or provide details about his or her actions when the accident happened unless at the advice of a lawyer.
Any information your teen gives to police, other parties, or insurance companies can be used against them (and you) if an insurance claim is filed, or if you seek to take legal action against another driver.