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Car crash! Your teenager is in danger! Here's how you can help

Your teenager has been involved in a car crash and they need you.

As a parent, there is nothing more terrifying than finding out your child has been in a car accident. Your first concern is for their well-being. Once you have established that they are stable, you may worry about the fall out. The following tips will help you keep your cool after your teenager is in an accident.

First, remember that your child will likely be shaken emotionally. Even though they are rapidly becoming autonomous beings, you are still their primary source of comfort after a traumatic event. 

Your teen needs someone to help them in a clinch and they are calling for you. Understanding how to help your child in this situation is the best thing you could do. This preparation beforehand will help you become their superhero if your teen ever needs your help under these circumstances.

Remain calm

Your mood will breed your kid's mood. If you are worried when talking to your teen, they too will be worried in the situation. If they are panicky, they may not be able to handle the situation effectively. Your teen will need to complete a few steps in this protocol. Therefore, remaining calm is critical in situations like this. Here is how to do such:

  • When you are on the phone with your teen organize your thoughts and talk at a slow to moderate rate
  • Ask your teen the status of their heath
  • If your teen was riding with passengers, ask for their wellbeing
  • Find a positive early on in the situation to keep them calm, for example: "I'm glad to hear you are okay"

This initial step may make the next steps easier when you ask the tougher questions to your teen. In contrast, scolding or immediately asking about the car's damage may overwhelm your teen when they may not be at fault for the incident. An overwhelmed state of mind is not an ideal mindset in a situation like this. Things like damages may be covered without the expense of having to dig into your own pocket. This is why positive reinforcement and gradually asking the tough questions is recommended.

Understand the scene

During this phase, you want to ask the questions so you can understand the situation. Understand the five "W's" and "H." Who, why, what, when, where and how? These are all factors you want to know so jot it down while you are on the phone with your teen. Once you get the details, you can contact your insurance company to give them the 411. Lastly, ask your teen if there were any witnesses. If so, demand they get their contact information.

Inform teen of remaining steps

Ask your teen to cooperate with police. Here is the time where you can prompt them on how to state these facts to the authorities. In doing so, they should not admit fault for incident. If your teen has not done so already, ask they use their phone to take photos of the scene. In the event this situation involves a crash with another car, they will need to get their contact information and other details such as the car model and license plate. It is imperative your teen properly reports the incident.

Now that you know the basic steps to handling an incident where your teen is involved in a car crash, you can rest a little easy. As comic Mel Brooks once said: "Hope for the best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We're unrehearsed."

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  • Kentucky Justice Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association 1871 Lex Ordo Justicia
  • United States District Court Western District Of Kentucky
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