These tips can help teens after a car accident

Your first car accident can be traumatic, even if no one is hurt. It's something unexpected, perhaps out of your control. You just got your license, so you're worried about what everyone is going to do: the police, your parents, your friends, etc. These tips can help you get through the crash:

-- Remember, you're not alone. There are millions of accidents every year. In fact, over 2 million people are injured and 30,000 are killed annually. This is a sobering stat, but it shows the importance of driving carefully and shows you just how many people tend to crash, since these stats don't even take into account the accidents where no one is hurt at all.

-- Be calm. Don't panic. If you have to, count down from 10 and take deep breaths before getting out of the car. You'll get through this. Don't let panic make it worse.

-- Put safety first. Check on your passengers. Make sure you're not hurt. If anyone is injured, call 911 right away. Don't worry about who was at fault or what the police will say. Get the help that is needed.

-- Don't leave, but consider moving your car out of the road. Leaving an accident scene is illegal, it's true, but you should pull off to the side if you can to clear the road and avoid secondary accidents.

-- Give the 911 operator enough information. People who are panicking often waste a lot of time on the phone yelling about how they need help. While that's somewhat understandable if you're hurt, it's far more beneficial to calm down, tell the operator what happened, where you are and what type of help is needed. Location is most important so they can send emergency crews as fast as possible.

After the accident, if another driver caused it and you were injured, remember that you may be able to seek compensation. This can help when your family is facing mounting medical costs and other such damages.

Source: Kids Health, "What to do After a Car Crash," accessed Dec. 30, 2016

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