As a parent, you’re bound to experience a range of intense emotions when you learn of a vehicle collision involving your teenager, even if it’s only a minor fender bender.
When your kid calls to inform you of an accident, remember that your own reactions influence what happens next at the scene. Remain calm, and talk your teen through the following steps:
1. Establish immediate safety
When teens are not injured and able to drive, they should move the vehicle safely out of traffic. If hurt, or if the vehicle is inoperable, they should remain inside with the seatbelt fastened and the hazard lights on until help arrives.
2. Call the police
Even for minor incidents, it’s a good idea to report accidents involving teens to avoid potential problems with medical and insurance claims later on.
3. Engage with the other driver
Encourage teens to check on the welfare of the other parties involved, but discourage them from placing blame or admitting fault for the crash.
4. Document the details of the accident
Teens should use their phones to note the date, time and location of the crash as well as the traffic and weather conditions and any known injuries. Photos of vehicle damage are also important for insurance investigations.
Many factors can contribute to car accidents from driver inexperience to substance abuse. Even if your teenager is not at fault for the crash, you can offer your support through the common challenges teens face and discuss ways to prevent future incidents.