Trust And Experience Matter

Helping your teen through the aftermath of their first (and hopefully, only) crash

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

If you are the parent of a teen, you likely worried about them being involved in a serious crash since they first took the car out alone. Now that it’s happened, your focus is on their healing from their physical injuries. However, it’s crucial not to ignore the emotional injuries they may be suffering.

These may not be apparent in the early days after the crash. It’s still important to watch for signs that they are struggling to process what happened. If the emotional toll isn’t addressed, your teen could let fear prevent them from driving again – or doing other things with any level of risk.

Some common signs that your teen is suffering include sleep issues (either not being able to sleep, nightmares or sleeping too much), not eating and trouble concentrating. If your teen seems to be constantly replaying the crash in their head or talking about it, they may be having trouble moving on.

Encourage them to get behind the wheel again, perhaps with some supervision initially.

As a parent, you may feel some sense of relief if your teen says they never want to drive again and are happy to Uber everywhere or ride with their friends. However, that’s probably not practical. It also means they’re letting their fear win. Once your teen is healthy enough to drive, it’s typically best to let them get behind the wheel again – with supervision. Take it slowly – like sticking to neighborhood streets as they get comfortable again. A short refresher driver’s ed course may also help them regain their confidence and learn some added safety tips to help avoid negligent and reckless drivers.  A specialized defensive driving course may also be helpful to your teen.

Other ways to help heal and regain their confidence

If your teen doesn’t seem to be getting back to a normal life (or as normal as possible while still healing), it may be worthwhile to consider therapy. This can help them process what happened in a healthy way and start to put it in the past. It’s not unusual to seek therapy after a significant life event, and your first car crash can certainly be that. Trauma therapy is particularly useful in the aftermath of a serious crash.

Another way to help your teen regain a sense of control they may feel that they have lost – especially if the other driver was at fault – is to have them participate in the claims process as you seek compensation for medical costs (including mental health treatment) and other expenses and damages. By allowing them to seek legal guidance alongside you, they may feel a greater sense of justice and closure over time.