Raising a teenager can be a difficult – if not occasionally daunting – task for any parent. Many parents will agree that one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the whole experience is when your kids start driving, especially when they start driving on their own.

Regardless of how skilled your teen is and how well you trained them, they are still young and inexperienced. Not only that, but you also have to worry about who else may be on the roads.

Terrifying as it is, accidents involving young driver happen with unfortunate frequency. It’s one of the scariest moments in any parent’s life, but knowing what to do can help you and your family get through it.

On the Scene

If your child ever does get into an accident – whether you are with them or not – the steps you need to follow are mostly the same. The key is to not give in to your panic and keep your head as clear as possible.
Stay Calm
Remaining calm is easier said than done, but it is critical in any emergency. Your family – your teen driver – will be taking cues from you. If you can project an outward calm, it will help them do so as well.

          Have Them Call 911
The first thing your child needs to do after an accident is to move to a safe location and call 911. It is recommended that you have this discussion with your child when they first start driving, in case they have an accident when you are not with them.

Most teenagers’ first reaction will be to call their parents right after an accident, but you need to make sure that first responders are on their way. If you need to remain on the line with them, have your child ask someone else to call 911, or you can call them on a different line.

          Take Pictures 
It will probably be the farthest thing from your mind, but taking pictures of the scene is critical. A renowned personal injury law firm for the Sarasota area suggests taking pictures from various angles and capturing a complete picture of and injuries and damages. This will make all the difference later when dealing with insurances, or if you need to pursue legal action against the other party.

When the Dust Settles
After dealing with the initial accident, when any injuries have been treated and everyone is safe and calm, you might think it’s all over. But your teen might still be struggling with the accident without you realizing it. Here’s how you can help:
Get the Full Story
Make sure you get the full story – get the official police report but also hear your child’s side of the story. No matter whose fault the accident was, it is important to keep a level head when you have your teen walk you through what happened. This can be a good time to begin examining what went wrong and what you need to help them correct.

          Help Them Regain Their Confidence
Chances are, your child is in some way shaken up from their accident, and their confidence behind the wheel has taken a beating. A jumpy, nervous driver is almost as dangerous as a distracted driver, so it is important for the safety of your child and everyone else on the road that you help them regain their confidence.

This can be in the form of more practice sessions with you, or even practicing with a professional driver. Many sheriff’s offices offer defensive driving classes for teens, which can help both you and them regain their confidence.

By talking with your teen and taking these steps, you can help make sure your teen is informed and protected, both before, during, and after an accident.