After your teenage or young adult driver was involved in a car accident, you may be wondering how to help them move forward and recover from the traumatic experience. Depending on your child’s personality, they may be ready to drive again immediately or become anxious about the idea. It is up to you to make several determinations to help them do so safely.
First, consider their health and ability to drive.
If you have not already, ask their medical provider if it is safe for your child to drive given their injury, any medications being taken, and any psychological conditions. Also, make an assessment for yourself whether your child is yet able and ready to drive again.
Second, determine if your vehicles are suitable for the child to drive.
After determining your child is healthy enough to drive, both physically and psychologically, next make an assessment of the vehicle you want the child to drive.
If your child is going to be driving the vehicle involved in the collision, consider whether your child’s ability to handle the vehicle contributed to the incident. Did the steering wheel slip? Could they see over the dashboard? Did they know how to use the windshield wipers? Make any corrections or give any instruction necessary before allowing them to drive again.
If your child is going to be driving another vehicle, consider if they can handle that vehicle or if any adjustments are necessary. Ask questions of yourself such as whether they have driven this vehicle or a similar one before. For example, you may not want to have a child who has only driven a compact car drive a large pick-up without further practice.
Third, have a conversation about safety.
Many parents believe that because their child was not at fault in the collision, there is not much further guidance to offer. Instead, now is a great time to discuss road safety with your child and review what they could have done differently. Even if it was not involved, remind them of the hazards of texting and driving, distracted driving, driving intoxicated and the importance of wearing seatbelts. Sometimes, the other driver’s mistake may be a learning tool to educate your child on road safety.
Fourth, have more practice sessions.
Especially if you are putting your child in a different vehicle, consider going on short drives with your child to have them practice. Learning defensive driving and how to react to road hazards is very important for young drivers and you or another trusted adult are the best way to train your child on how to handle these to protect against future accidents.
Most importantly, if you have concerns about your teen’s driving ability after these practice sessions, you should discuss limiting their time on the road alone and put in a plan in place to improve their skills.
Fifth, review your insurance coverage.
This accident probably made you start wondering if your current insurance is adequate. With multiple drivers in a household, the decision about the best insurance coverage and limits should not be taken lightly. Make some time to contact your insurer for advice and if you have more questions, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss recommendations for limiting your liability.
If your teen has been involved in a car accident, don’t go through the claims process alone! Contact Oldham & Delcamp, our experienced personal injury attorneys are familiar with these types of insurance claims and will work to ensure your child receives adequate compensation.