It’s every parents’ nightmare – your phone rings and it’s your child telling you they’ve been in a car accident. Your mind of course automatically assumes the worse, even though the fact that they’re calling you means that they are at least in good enough shape to do that. If you ever get this phone call from one of your kids, it’s important that you don’t panic. They are likely worried and a little scared, and you panicking will only heighten those feelings for them. Instead, remain calm, and walk them through what they need to do.
The Steps of a Car Accident
The first thing you should have your kid do is make sure they are in a safe location. Have them pull off onto the side of the road or get out of the car if the car is smoking. If they are on a busy road, make sure they take extra care when exiting the vehicle, and have them stay inside the car if they can’t safely get out.
Once you know your child is safe, now you can begin walking them through the steps they need to take. This includes checking on any other drivers involved, calling for emergency assistance if needed, swapping information with the other driver, and taking pictures. If the accident happened close to where you live, you may be better off driving to location in order to better help your kid. If you can’t do this, then stay on the phone with them while they get everything done. Most importantly, if your kid or anyone else involved was injured during the accident, no matter how minor the injury, have it checked out at a hospital. It’s better to be safe than sorry in these sorts of situations.
Help Them with Transportation
Depending on the damage done to the car, your child may need some help with transportation. This could mean a ride home from the accident, a ride to the doctor, or someone to pick them up from the auto shop. Or, if their car is going to be in the shop for a few days, they may need some help getting around until they get their car back. Do what you can to help your kid out during this time. Let them borrow your car, or maybe carpool with them on the way to work/school. If you’re lucky this will only last for a few days, and your kid will go back to being independent with their own car before long.
Help Them Find a New Ride
In some cases the accident is so bad that the car is no longer useable. The car is beyond repair, and now your kid needs to find a new one. Since they are still pretty young, they likely don’t have much experience with purchasing a new car, or the credit history needed to get one on their own. Find some time during an upcoming weekend to go car shopping with your kid, and help them to find something they can afford. To make sure your kid gets a good deal, here are some car buying tips that you can share with them.
Make Sure They Follow Up
Unfortunately, even after you leave the scene of the accident, there are still things that your kid will need to do. This could be getting additional medical exams, following up with their insurance company, or working with the local police department. As a parent, it’s your job to ensure that your child stays on top of all of this and that they follow up when necessary. You don’t want to let your kid forget about anything, as this will only cause more problems down the line.
Help Them Avoid Future Accidents
Finally, after the dust has settled from the accident, it’s a good idea to go over it with your kid. According to this Los Angeles car crash attorney, “There are a number of reasons why car accidents occur, including the carelessness of distracted drivers, reckless or erratic driving, alcohol and drugs, and many other factors.” Take some time to talk about the accident with your kid and see if there was anything they could have done differently to avoid the accident. We all want to keep our kids safe, and teaching them to drive safely is a key part of this.
Make Accidents Less Scary
Getting into a car accident is scary no matter what age you are. When you’re a kid, the situation becomes a lot easier to handle if you have a parent helping you along the way. If you should ever get that dreaded phone car from your kid, remember to keep calm, and help them out using the methods mentioned above.