20 car crash tips and things you should know after an accident

Consider yourself lucky — or perhaps overdue — if you’re an adult who has never been in a car accident.

Consider that in 2015 alone, more than 2.4 million people were injured and nearly 35,000 people died in 6.2 million crashes nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It follows that the Insurance Information Institute says the number and severity of automobile accidents has been on an uptick in recent years, and the consumer website carinsurance.com reports that adult drivers in the U.S. will file a car collision claim approximately once every 18 years.

That means the average American will have three or four auto accidents in a lifetime.

If there is a silver lining, it’s this: Most car collisions aren’t deadly.

Behind the numbers

Here are some additional U.S. car accident statistics include from U.S. DriverKnowledge.com:

  • More than 90 people die in car accidents each day in the U.S.
  • Another three million are injured, with about two million of those experiencing long-term or permanent injuries.
  • Wearing a seatbelt reduces your risk of death by 45% and your risk of serious injury by 50% yet among the total fatal accidents, 48.1% were not wearing a seat belt.
  • The primary causes of accidents which result in a fatality include alcohol, speeding and reckless driving — the primary causes of accidents which do not result in a fatality include distracted driving and driving while fatigued.
  • About nine people each day are killed as a result of distracted driving.
  • You are 23 times as likely to crash if you text while driving.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by a whopping 37%.

What to do following a car accident

Auto accidents are always unexpected, and always stressful.

Even if you are a very careful driver, you can still be involved in a car collision.

If you are involved in a car accident, there are certain steps you should take to minimize adverse outcomes. Here are eight of them:

  1. To the extent possible, stay calm following your accident. Take a deep breath, check for injuries, and call an ambulance. Even if you think you are “fine,” it is a good idea to either let the ambulance transport you to the hospital or to immediately go see your physician. Accidents cause your body to be flooded with adrenaline, which can mask pain, yet once the adrenaline wears off, you may realize you were injured and you are not fine.
  2. If the accident is minor, and it will not put anyone in jeopardy to do so, move the cars involved in the accident to a safe place. Turn on hazard lights when necessary.
  3. Call the police. Even if your accident is minor, and even if the other party tries to persuade you to just “handle it among yourselves,” don’t skip this step! Without a police report, you may find it extremely difficult to convince your insurance company you were not at fault and to pay for your injuries and damages.
  4. Keep track of all medical expenses, including prescriptions, all doctor bills, chiropractic services, rehabilitative services, etc.
  5. Take photos of the scene of the accident, if you are able, including photos of the damage to both vehicles.
  6. If you are physically able, make notes as soon as possible about the accident. These notes should include the name, phone number, license plate number and insurance information about the other person, as well as witness contact information.
  7. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after your accident. Give your insurance company the basic facts of the accident.
  8. If it turns out that you must file a civil claim to recoup your losses (medical expenses, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, etc.), it can be very helpful to make a list of questions to ask a lawyer after your accident.

What not to do after a car accident

There are also things you should avoid doing after a car accident. These include:

  1. Never admit responsibility for the accident, even if you think it might have been your fault, or even partially your fault. Even saying “I’m sorry” to the other party could potentially be misconstrued as an admission of fault, so avoid saying anything that could sound like you are saying the accident was your fault.
  2. Never sign any document without speaking to an attorney first.
  3. Never agree to allow the insurance company to record your conversation without speaking to an attorney (you are not required by law to allow your conversation to be recorded).
  4. Never, ever leave the scene of the accident, particularly when there are injuries, or you could face criminal charges for hit-and-run.
  5. Never discuss your accident on social media, and, in fact, don’t talk to anyone about the accident other than your own attorney, your own insurance company and the police. Avoid talking to a representative of another insurance company without discussing it with your own insurer and/or your attorney.

Knowledge is power

Taking the right steps after a car accident can help keep you safe, and can ensure you will receive an equitable settlement for your injuries and damages to your vehicle.

Knowing how to handle an automobile collision also can help you and your family remain calm during an otherwise stressful situation.

Consumers also should know that they never have to manage a car accident alone. An experienced auto accident attorney will ensure your rights are protected, and that valuable evidence is not destroyed.

Keeping Your Teen Safe On Prom Night

The Dress, The Date, The Hair, The Music, and what to do after…all things that are on your teen’s mind before the infamous prom night.

Driving is usually not an important component in a teen’s mind, but for parents, it can be a big worry. Many parents often overlook the need to have honest discussions with their teens about safe driving and avoiding alcohol and drugs. Statistics show that prom and graduation season—the months of April, May, and June—are the most dangerous time for teens. One-third of the alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving teens each year occur during those months.

Here’s an honest and teen-friendly guide to sharing concerns with your teen for one of the most important nights of their adolescent career.

Many parents often overlook the need to have honest discussions with their teens about safe driving and avoiding alcohol and drugs.

  • Have a good time. Explain to your teen that you want them to have fun and enjoy themselves. Just don’t drink. Years from now, they will laugh when looking back at prom, but not if they don’t remember the night.
  • Relate it to your prom. Explain to them what you did right or wrong and what the consequences were. Don’t be afraid to tell them the truth if you made some bad judgment calls. This can only help them to feel that you are human and that you regret those decisions and don’t want them to make the same.
  • Remind them of their future. High school is a great time, but they have their whole future ahead of them. Don’t ruin that by drinking or doing drugs on Prom night or any night.
  •  Immature vs. Mature. Your teen may think that drinking or doing drugs and driving is what the grown-up thing is to do. Explain to them that is the most immature and irresponsible decision they could make. Being mature is about making the right decision and keeping your future in your sight.
  • Drive safe! If they are driving, make sure that they understand the responsibility of driving on Prom night. Share these six tips with your teen:
    1. Wear seatbelts.
    2. Don’t speed.
    3. Be a defensive driver. Not everyone on the road is going to be as safe as you, watch out for other unsafe drivers.
    4. Don’t drink or do drugs. This impairs judgment for driving and could potentially end in a fatality. If you do make a mistake or find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, call your parents immediately. They will respect you for being mature enough to see the danger and making the right call.
    5. Don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking or doing drugs. This takes your life out of your hands.
    6. Pay attention to the road while driving. Don’t get distracted with cell phones, radio, or passengers. Driving is a very important responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Teenage drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group and it’s largely due to driver error. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’, one in four crash fatalities involve someone 16 to 24 years old, nearly twice as high as other age groups. Don’t let your teenager be a statistic. Talk with your teen and communicate the importance of safe driving on Prom night and every night.

Your safety is number one to us. Stay safe wherever you choose to go on the road.

6 Reasons for Teens to Take Drivers Ed

For some teens, taking driver’s ed is a rite of passage that they assume they’ll undergo before they’re able to get their license. Other families, however, find themselves debating the value of driver’s ed for teens. If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not driver’s ed is the right decision for your family, consider the benefits of a professional driver’s education for new and teenage drivers. Accredited Driving School has outlined six primary reasons why most parents opt to enroll their teens in driver’s ed.

1. Driver’s Ed Can Lower Insurance Costs

Many insurance companies offer a discount for teens who have taken driver’s ed. The cost savings can really add up, especially if you were dreading the increase in your insurance premiums when you added your teen to the policy. Contact your insurance company to find out how much of a discount is offered.

2. Driver’s Ed Helps Teens Learn the Details

It’s been a long time since you learned how to drive. Chances are, you’ve forgotten many of the details that make up the driving process. Many driving tasks and habits are second-nature to experienced drivers, and remember to explain these processes to a new driver can be rather challenging. Driver’s ed teachers, however, have worked with teens for a long time. They know all the important details that go along with learning to drive, and how to express them in a way that’s sure to sink in for your teen. State-approved online driver’s ed courses are generally developed by driving instructors, and follow educational practices that help ensure that students can easily remember the material.

3. Some States Require It

Not every state requires driver’s ed in order for your teen to get their license. But for those states that do, it’s not just a suggestion: your teen has to get that important driver’s ed class somewhere. Those states that do require it have seen an increase in the safety and competence of drivers who took the class, which means that taking driver’s ed is a proven method to help teens drive more safely.

4. Teens Get More Experience

Let’s face it: you don’t have time to go driving with your teen every day. When they take a driver’s ed class, they will gain more experience with everything they need to know about driving. From a refresher in driving safety from someone who isn’t their parent to detailed lessons about how to handle harsh driving conditions, driver’s ed will offer your teen more information about how to drive safely.

5. Road Test Preparation

When your teen takes driver’s ed from a professional in your area, they’ll get the scoop on the driver’s license test: what they’re expected to know, how it will impact their test score, and what they’ll actually need to do in order to pass the driving test. Some cities, for example, require parallel parking in order to get a driver’s license. Other cities, where it’s less common, may require little more than a drive around the block. Make sure your teen knows what they really need to know before they get their license, instead of failing the test due to lack of experience with one crucial point — even if it’s a point they won’t necessarily use during the course of everyday driving.

6. Increase Your Teen’s Confidence

There’s nothing like going into a test with the sure knowledge that you’ll be able to pass it — and driver’s ed can provide that for your teen. It gives them the confidence to know that they can handle what happens on the road and the experience necessary to back it up. Good instructors will help build that confidence, preparing your teen for what they’ll face when they start driving.

If you want your teen to have professional instruction that will make sure they know everything they need to know, not only to take their road test but to increase their safety behind the wheel, driver’s ed is well worth the investment. Sign your teen up to give them all the benefits of that experience.