According to a recent article published in U.S. News and World Report, car accidents are the number one cause of death among teens, and this problem gets worse during the summer. Luckily, if you are a parent of a teen, there are a variety of things you can do to help your teen drive safer and reduce the chances of your child being involved in a car accident, which could result in personal injury or even death.
First, model the behaviors you expect. This means turning off your cellphone, silencing it, or putting it out of reach while you are driving. If your teen sees you using a phone while driving, even if you have told your teen not to use his or her phone while driving, you have shown that driving while using a cellphone is acceptable behavior.
Another behavior you should model is seatbelt use. Teens are the least likely to use their seatbelt even though seatbelt are known to reduce the risk of crash-related injuries and deaths by roughly half. You may not be in the vehicle every time your teen drives, but you can demonstrate the importance of a seatbelt when you are in the vehicle.
Second, establish rules for your teen’s driving. Many parents establish rules about radio usage or the number of passengers the teen can have while driving. Not only is it important to establish these rules, but also it is important to tell your teen why these rules are important. Let your teen know that as he or she becomes a more experienced driver and as responsible driving skills have been demonstrated, the rules will become less strict.
Finally, consider signing The New Driver Deal with your teen. This contract or agreement puts forth expectations for your teen’s driving and helps the teen to see when greater driving responsibility will be awarded. It also makes parents responsible for helping their teen become better drivers. If teens and parents know the rules and respect the rules, the likelihood of a car accident can be reduced.
If you’re injured in a car accident, it’s a chaotic and frightening time. It can be very difficult to know exactly what you should do. With all the interaction you have with police officers and doctors, it can be easy to overlook the importance of documenting everything that happened in the accident and during its aftermath. Documenting your accident injuries is essential if you’re going to get fair compensation. Below are some tips that will help:
Make Accident Notes
Make notes on the time and location of the accident, as well as how it actually happened. It’s important to do this as quickly as possible, since your memory will be more accurate close to the event. Hold on to these notes. They can be essential when you’re interacting with the insurance company or lawyers. You should also make notes about how your injuries impact your life, including your work.
Take Some Accident Photos
Remember to take photos of the accident and particularly of any vehicles involved. Photos of the street or intersection, skid marks, street signs, lights and anything else that might be relevant to the accident would also be a good idea. If possible, try to use a good camera for this. But if you have to do it quickly, because the cars are being removed, you can use your phone camera. If you’re injured and unable to take the pictures, have someone else do it for you.
Get Your Injuries on the Record
In the emergency room or when you go to see your private doctor, make clear just what your symptoms are. An insurance company can question your injuries later if you don’t mention them to the doctor at the time. Another way to document your injuries is to take photos of any cuts, bruises, fracture casts, stitches or scars. You want to take photos of these injuries immediately after the accident, after treatment and as you continue to heal.