Getting a driver’s license is an exciting right of passage for teens. For parents, it’s a whole new world of worry every time your teen gets behind the wheel of a car. The CDC highlights that drivers aged 16-19 are more prone to car accidents than any other age group. Inexperience+ exuberance+ smartphones+our notorious South Florida drivers =a dangerous combination.
While we all pray that our teens never face an accident, odds are it will happen at some point. With over 40 years of handling personal injury cases in South Florida, we’d like to share some tips to help prepare your teen.
There’s little we can say to make you any less anxious.
7 key tips to share with your teenager before they’re in an accident:
Tell Them It’s Ok.
In an accident, a teenager’s instinct might be to panic, fearing parental reaction. Remind them that the first step is to stay calm, enabling them to think clearly and act responsibly.
Equip your teen’s car with a first aid kit and a spare phone charger; make sure they have copies of the car’s registration and insurance card; and program their phone with essential contact numbers. Have them take a photo of these important documents for backup, just in case.
Be safe and smart.
- Call 911 immediately, whether or not there are injuries.
- For minor damages, use hazard lights and move the car from traffic, ideally to the right shoulder.
- If the accident happened at night or in an empty area, tell your teen to stay in the car with the doors locked until the police arrive.
Wait for the police to complete an official report and follow their instructions on when it’s okay to leave. If police can’t come to the scene, your teen should ask the dispatcher for further guidance. Again, if it’s dark or late or you don’t feel safe and the police can’t come, call a trusted adult and wait in the car until they arrive. Be polite and respectful.
Documenting the Incident
Once safe, encourage your teen to gather as much information as possible:
- Take photos of:
- The other driver’s details (driver’s license, license plates, and insurance information)
- Both cars, the accident scene, including vehicles, license plates, checking to see if there are skid marks, etc
- Tell your teen to share only his or her name and auto insurance details with the other driver. Nothing else!
Remind your teen that ‘Silence is Golden’ when it comes to accidents.
- Never admit fault or apologize. We want our teens to take responsibility for their actions, but admitting fault at the scene of an accident is not the time or place.
- Don’t tell the other driver that you feel fine. Hidden injuries can appear hours or days later.
- NO SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING. Please impress upon your teen that sharing what happened with their family or friends or posting photos or videos is NEVER a good idea. Why? Read the 5 Rules about Posting on Social Media.
- Seek medical attention for any injuries, evident or not.
- Encourage your teen to jot down everything they remember about the accident soon after it happens.
- Notify your insurance company promptly.
Speak with an Experienced Attorney:
Calling an experienced auto accident attorney to make sure your child is protected legally will protect your child and give you peace of mind. Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, we understand the nuances of these challenging situations and are here to provide the support and guidance your family needs.
Call us at 305-653-5555 24/7 or email [email protected] for a free consultation, ensuring your teen’s rights and well-being are protected from the start.