Back in March, I spent close to the entire month sick - flu, bronchitis, ear infections - it was tons of fun. Our sons don't have their licenses yet. It's just not on their radar as something they care about so why keep the insurance company fat and happy?
Our sons were often grabbing rides home with friends in the afternoon. One day, I received the text all parents dread: "We're gonna be late. XXXX had an accident." I'll give more on the details in a bit, but yes, texting was involved in the accident.
It was minor, but even scarier to me was the realization that I had never, ever discussed with our teens (who can drive, just don't care about it), what to do in the case of an accident. Never. Ever. Occurred. To. Me. Duh... I also haven't shown them how to check the oil or change a tire. Those lessons are coming. (might hand those off to hubby... though I do know how thanks to Daddy, and brothers.)
So I sat down, and walked them both through my rules of what to do, and in case it's helpful to anyone out there who might also have a duh moment (I can't be the only thoughtless parent...I hope...in a warped way.)
1 - Never leave the scene of an accident. At your age, I don't care how minor it is, stay there. Enjoy the scenery, watch the gawkers, but stay put. The exception to this is if you are on a dark, deserted road. Especially important for young female drivers, but applicable to any age or gender. Some will hit your car on purpose. Listen to your instincts. Don't stay put, go to a local police station or well lit, populated area, and call 911. Explain the situation, you will NOT get in trouble for this.
2 - Call your parents or guardians. We WANT to know. We will instantly move into Supreme Protector Parental Mode, and be there. If for some reason, we can't be there, call your approved list. Just like in elementary school, when you knew it was ok for Aunt JuneBug to pick you up, but never climb in the car with Auntie CrazyLoon, same thing. You, and your parents should discuss what responsible adults should be called. (Side note to parents/guardians - Might be a good idea to let those responsible adults know they are on the hook. Also make sure your kid has these wonderful people in their phone.)
3 - Who is your insurance agent, and carrier? Contact number for them? The police, and other driver will ask for that. Make sure they have the proof of insurance, and know where it is in the car. And find out the other driver's information, too. This isn't a one-way street. Don't let them convince you it is. Maybe it is, but let others help with that decision.
4 - Our longest discussion involved this next piece of advice. There will be those who are offended - sorry - my blog - my warped view. DO NOT carry on a conversation with the other driver. It's ok to make sure everyone is alright. It is not OK to admit guilt or alleviate the other driver's guilt. (No saying things like, 'I'm sorry, I should have noticed you' - sliding into my lane where I already was...). Unfortunately these days, finger pointing is the norm, as is the ubiquitous lawsuit. Wait for your parents, and let them handle it. You may speak to the police, and certainly answer their questions. But in this day of recording devices on phones, never assume the other driver is a good, and generous soul. Sorry, but don't.
Now about the accident. Did you assume the teen driver was texting? I would have. But noooo, the middle aged woman who hit him was texting, and rear ended him at a stoplight. So this next piece of advice is for all drivers, PUT DOWN THE FREAKING PHONE. C'mon people. You are not the excellent driver while texting/surfing/dialing/talking that you think you are. It's the same principle as none of us look as young as we think we do. Same thing. Accept it.