Helping your teen recover emotionally after their first crash

Approximately one-fifth of all teen drivers are involved in a crash during their first year of driving. If yours was one of them, you’re understandably most concerned with their physical injuries and helping them recover.

Teens can often experience emotional issues as well after a crash, whether it was their fault or someone else’s. Anyone of any age can become overwhelmed by anxiety and stress following a crash. For teen drivers, however, it can be worse since they don’t have years of driving with no crash to balance out what happened.

It’s crucial to watch for signs that your teen’s post-crash anxiety is affecting their sleep, school work and relationships. Encouraging them to talk or write about what happened can help. It’s not healthy to continue to relive it, however. It’s wise to consider letting them talk to a mental health professional if they don’t seem to be recovering emotionally.

It’s crucial to help them regain a sense of control

You may be happy to let them give up driving if they say they never want to get behind the wheel again. However, that’s not going to help them. Typically, it’s best to encourage teens to get back to driving as soon as they’re well enough. This can help them regain any lost confidence in their driving ability.

They may need to start out slowly, with you or another trusted adult in the front passenger seat. If they’re fearful, you can start with some drives around the neighborhood and work your way back up to highways. Your teen might even benefit from a few more sessions with a driver’s ed instructor to help them regain their confidence, even if they did nothing to contribute to the crash.

Part of the anxiety that many people feel following a crash – especially one caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, is a lack of control. You can help your teen regain that by involving them in the process of filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer and other steps you may take to ensure that you get the necessary compensation for medical bills and other expenses.

If your teen is getting mental health treatment, you have every right to include that. You may want to consider getting legal assistance to help ensure that you maximize your claim.

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