Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Car Accident Advice for Teens

I haven’t posted in forever, it seems (that chocolate cake was a month ago!), thanks in large part to a car accident two weeks ago, in which our car was totaled (low-value car), and the driver — me — escaped with minor whiplash. (No one else was in the car.) I’m thankful, of course, no one at the scene was hurt beyond whiplash. I have an inordinate fear of car accidents, and this was my first. I am grateful every day it wasn’t a high-speed collision.

However, shopping for cars is not what we had planned for December — never mind borrowing money, making multiple phone calls to insurance agents, claims adjusters, the loss department, and the rental company that told us our rental car was due (it wasn’t). Total headache. It could be worse, I know. I could have terminally ill children.

But right now I am thinking a lot about new drivers and the fact we will have one in our family in about two years, sooner than I would like. Yikes. And oh, baby, she can’t wait. But if, as a veteran driver, I wasn’t sure what to do at the scene of an accident, you can bet she won’t. It kinda freaks me out.

So here’s the cheat sheet I will be posting in our car, numbered in order of importance and laminated for durability. (I may also conduct surprise quizzes once her license is issued. Don’t tell her I said that.)

What To Do at the Accident Scene

1. Read this list before getting out of the car. (Okay, maybe that’s unrealistic.)

2. Don’t move your car from the scene of the collision, except perhaps to pull to the curb.  Even if it’s a minor accident, don’t park elsewhere to trade insurance information because people can change their stories, i.e., lie about what happened, and the police can’t help sort it out if you’ve moved the cars. (No one lied at my accident scene.)

3. Make sure everyone is okay. If not, call 911. (We didn’t have to do this.)

4. Grab a witness and take their info so you can contact them later. Better yet, have them hang around until the police arrive. (We had no witnesses because not a single person stopped to see if we were okay.)

5. Don’t talk about whose fault it is. Don’t argue. Don’t apologize. Don’t go there.

6. Call the police, even for a minor accident (see #5). Girls and boys, DO NOT let the other driver talk you out of it. It’s not a big deal to involve the police. All they do is take statements, fill out an accident report, and then you have the paper trail you need when it comes time to bargain for a settlement.

7. Take pictures of the damage to the cars. I will be putting an instant cardboard camera in the glove box when we get a new car. Of course, my daughter has a cell phone that she knows how to use.

8. Exchange insurance information with the other party. While you’re at it, do not say say you’re fine. Whiplash sets in later.

9. Call your insurance agent.

10. Somewhere in there, call Mom and Dad, preferably after you grab that witness.

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