Parents, do your teenagers know what to do if they’re involved in a car accident? Whether we want it to happen or not, it’s a real threat. There are more than six million car crashes in the U.S. each year, and many of them involve young men and women who are just learning the rules of the road. As the leading cause of death among teens in America, car crashes can be more than just costly, they can be deadly.
At Meyer’s Automotive and Waterloo Automotive, we hope this never happens to your child, but just in case it does, it’s best to be prepared. So, parents, it’s time to sit down with your teenagers and help them understand what to do if they find themselves facing the situation. Who knows? You might need a refresher course yourself.
First, the important thing is to try and stay calm. Yes, it’s going to be a scary situation. Be prepared for that. It’s going to be emotional, and it’s going to shake up all parties involved. 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 emergency vehicles dispatched to the scene. Take care of yourself and your carload first and then check the other driver and passengers. Then, make your calls to the police and rescue personnel.
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 and you don’t have to keep walking out in front of moving vehicles. If the cars are totaled, obviously, let the emergency crews take care of it. In that case, just remove yourself from the accident site and never stand in the way of oncoming traffic.
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 so you can write down information regarding what happened. 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 and any potential disputes that arise.
Next, take photos. Take out your phone and snap some shots of the accident. Get pics of the area where the accident occurred as well as of the damage to the cars. If it is safe, photograph each car at an angle 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 so that you can have that information available when you need it.
After that, exchange information with the other driver. Ask them to show you their insurance card, registration and driver’s license, and copy the information down for yourself to ensure accuracy. Make sure to ask whether or not their address is current and if there is any other information that needs to be updated. And, of course, get their phone number.
Finally, report the accident to your insurance company. Even if the damage appears to be minimal, you never know what could have happened under the surface of the car. You’ll want to file a claim to make sure your repair costs are covered.
One helpful hint 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.
Like we said, we at Meyer’s and Waterloo Automotive hope this never happens to your teenager. However, with the statistics being so high, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. Take time this week to 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 track.
For your next auto maintenance appointment or damage repair service, call Meyer’s Automotive or Waterloo Automotive today!