If your teen has been involved in a crash, your first concern is for their physical well-being. Even if they were fortunate enough to escape without serious injuries, however, that doesn’t mean they don’t need time and help to heal emotionally.
A car crash can haunt any driver for some time afterward. For a teen who is just a few years out of childhood and new at driving, the emotional repercussions can be serious. They may have nightmares, find themselves constantly going over the details of the collision in their minds and asking countless “what if” questions – even if the crash wasn’t their fault.
Teens may also be more hesitant than more experienced drivers to get behind the wheel again after a crash. Adults have hundreds or maybe thousands of car trips behind them that were uneventful. Your teen may have only a few.
Why it’s important to get behind the wheel again
As a parent, you may be only too happy to let your teen stay out of the driver’s seat for as long as possible. However, mental health experts say that it’s best for anyone who’s been in a crash not to wait too long to start driving again. The longer you wait, the more daunting the prospect becomes.
That doesn’t mean you should rush your teen. You may want to go along with them for their first few trips after a crash and limit these to short drives. Your teen may be able to take some additional hours of behind-the-wheel training to get more experience and increase their confidence.
Don’t leave them out of the settlement process
It can also be helpful to have your teen participate in dealing with the aftermath of the crash – such as talking to the insurance company, following up on the claim and, if necessary, seeking legal guidance. Of course, they shouldn’t be left to do this on their own. Being part of the process and ensuring that they get the compensation they’re due, however, can help give them back some sense of control. It’s also good preparation in case they’re ever involved in another collision.