Whether we want it to happen or not, it’s a real threat. Due to the number of car crashes among teenagers in America, it’s a very real possibility that your son or daughter may wind up being involved in one of the more than six million car crashes that take place in the United States every year, many of which are caused by or involve young men and women who are just learning the rules of the road.
Of course, we hope this never happens to your child and that this blog post never needs to be put to use, but just in case it does, it’s best to be prepared. So, let us ask the question: Parents, do your children know what to do if they are involved in an auto accident? If not, it’s time to sit them down and help them understand the steps.
First, the important thing is to try and stay calm. Yes, it’s going to be a scary situation. Prepare them for that. It’s going to be emotional, and it’s going to shake them up. That’s okay. The important thing is to keep a level head and move forward, even if the tears are flowing.
The next thing to do, of course, is to evaluate everyone’s safety. Is anyone hurt? Does anyone need emergency medical treatment? If so, someone should call 911 and have them send emergency vehicles. What about the passengers in the other vehicle(s) involved? Take care of yourself and your carload first and then check the other driver and passengers.
Another important step is to, if possible, move the vehicles out of the line of traffic. If the cars are drivable, move them to the shoulder of the road so that traffic can continue to move. If the cars are totaled, obviously, don’t worry about this. Emergency crews will take care of it. However, you yourself should never stand in the way of oncoming traffic. Even if your car can’t be moved, remove yourself from the main road and stand off to the side. Depending on the severity and location of the crash, this overall process will vary, but the basic principles of safety and location remain the same.
Now, once those two elements are in place, it’s time to take care of business.
First, take notes. Keep a notepad and pen in your glove box on which you can write down information regarding what happened during the accident. You may have trouble recalling details later, so take as many notes as you can regarding how the crash happened, where it happened and what damaged was caused to the auto and its passengers. This will be helpful for the insurance claim.
Next, take photos. Most cell phones have cameras today, so snap some shots of the accident. Take pics of the area where the accident occurred as well as of the damage to the cars involved. If it is safe, photograph each car at an angle from each wheel so that one side of the car and either the front or rear is visible. Take close-ups of any damaged areas and also snap a shot of each car’s license plate in case you need it later.
After that, it’s time to exchange information. Ask the other driver to show you their insurance card, registration and driver’s license, and copy the information down for yourself. Make sure to ask whether or not their address is current and if there is any other information that is out-dated.
Finally, report the accident to your car insurance company. Even if the damage appears to be minimal, you never know what could have happened under the surface of the car, especially if you were rear-ended, as bumper damage is hard to detect from the outside. You’ll want to file a claim to make sure your repair costs are covered.
The good news for teens is that many of the major insurance companies offer smartphone apps that can help tremendously in the event of a crash. Make sure that if your agency offers this technology, your teenager has it downloaded to their phone and ready to use.
At D&R Autoworks, we hope this never happens to your teenager. However, with the statistics being so high, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. This week, talk to your kids and help them prepare for the hazards of the road. And, in the event of a crash, know that we will be ready to help put the pieces back in place to get you back on the road.
For your next auto maintenance appointment or damage repair service, call D&R Autoworks today!