Let’s face it—it’s scary letting your teen go behind the wheel of a car.
They might be distracted by their cell phone, friends riding with them, other cars on the road, or any number of things. We’re going to go over a few tips to keep in mind before your teen gets out on the road, and what to do if they are involved in a car accident.
We hope this gives you some peace of mind when they’re out with friends or driving to school or events.
Tips to Keep Teens Safe on the Road
Practice Makes Perfect
In 2019, 2,042 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers. One of the main reasons Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs were created in each state throughout the U.S. were high numbers like these.
Since its implementation in Illinois 10 years ago, the program has worked to decrease teen driving deaths by more than 60%. In most states, the phases of the GDL program are the permit phase, initial license phase (where teens have a license but have restrictions on it), and full license phase.
During the permit phase, you will need to accompany your teen while they practice driving during the day, at night, on the highway, in town, and in other situations to get them ready for the road. Helping your teen practice driving is the quickest way to make sure that they are prepared for what might happen when they are by themselves on the road. Even after their permit phase, you can still give them pointers—though they may complain about backseat drivers!
Teach Them Basic Car Maintenance and Repair Skills
Even for adults, it’s awful to get a flat tire or run out of oil because you forgot to check it. It’s even worse for teens who have never done it before and may not know how. They could be stranded without help if they aren’t taught how to fix a few simple things that could (and will likely) happen on the road someday. That’s why it’s so important to teach your teens about the importance of keeping their car well maintained.
Make sure that you teach your teen how to check their oil and tire pressure (and how to fill the tire if it’s low), how to change a tire, and what some of the lights on the dash mean if they come on. They might forget what you taught them, but they’ll know who to call and where to find the information if they need it.
Also remember to pack your teen a car safety kit including jumper cables, gloves, hats, road flares, a flashlight, etc.
Distracted Driving Leads to Disastrous Results
Lastly, make sure to have a serious talk with your teens about distracted driving. They’ll probably roll their eyes thinking that they would never be irresponsible enough to get distracted while driving. However, we all know how easy it is to look away for one second and end up in a close call with another driver.
Remind your teens of the importance of not using a cell phone for any reason while driving (especially since it’s illegal to do so in most circumstances in Illinois and Iowa). However, don’t forget to mention other distractions like talking with friends and not paying attention to the road, trying to find that perfect station on the radio, eating or drinking and driving, or anything else that causes you to take your attention away from the road.
What to Do After Your Teen is in a Car Accident
Accidents do happen. If your teen is involved in a car wreck, there are a few things you can do right after to make sure they’re safe and that insurance is aware of what happened.
Go to the Hospital After an Accident
The first thing to do after any accident which caused an injury is to be seen by your doctor or in the emergency room. Even if your teen feels okay after the accident, injuries might show up hours or days later which could be serious enough to require the hospital.
It’s so important to be seen after an accident not only for your teen’s health and wellbeing, but also for any future claims that you make.
If the insurance carrier sees that your teen didn’t go to the hospital or see their doctor after an accident, they may try to say that the accident wasn’t serious and therefore doesn’t need compensation or only deserves a low amount. So not only should your teen be seen by their doctor for their own health, but also for any insurance claims you may make.
Take Photos and Videos of the Area
If your teen is able to, it’s important to gather any information that you can about the accident before the scene is cleared and evidence is lost. Collect contact information for any witnesses, take pictures of the accident and surrounding areas. Include any elements you think might help, like skid marks on the pavement.
Gathering this evidence soon after the accident can help your claim by helping to establish who was at fault and making sure you have the exact details of the scene on record. If your teen can’t take photos right after an accident, it’s okay. If you retain an attorney, their team will investigate, take photos, and gather evidence for you.
Get a Police Report and Don’t Discuss the Accident with Anyone Else
Your teen might be tempted to apologize or suggest they were at fault for the accident. Remind them to not say anything because it could be used against them later if they unknowingly “admit” fault for the accident. Make sure that they also obtain a police report which will help with any claims made.
The Bottom Line for Teen Car Accidents is…
They could happen, but you and your teen can be prepared and plan ahead. If your teen is injured in an car accident, you might choose to hire a personal injury attorney. We would be happy to assist you in collecting evidence, medical records, and more and making sure that your teen gets the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
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The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.