WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT
Even if you or a loved one walks away from a crash without a scratch, that doesn't mean you're 100% OK with getting back in a car. "An accident will affect you psychologically,” says Edward Hickling, Psy.D., co-author of After the Crash: Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Survivors of Motor Vehicle Accidents.
Some drivers and passengers are more anxious, more cautious, or completely disabled from driving or riding in a car again. Some drivers and passengers are only that way around the site of the accident, but that may mean a longer commute time, farther travel, and a general inconvenience for the rest of their lives.
How can we change that:
- DO: Write down how the accident happened: Writing down the details from start to finish can help an accident victim cope with the emotions after an accident
- DON'T: Keep the emotions to yourself: Talking about emotions often helps one to fully understand their feelings about a traumatic event
- DO: Bring another driver with you: Don't try to drive alone, risking being dangerous, or stranded without a way to get back home if a panic attack, or some sort of disabling emotion happens
- DO: Start with a short drive: Do not jump in the deep end - try to build yourself back up to your previous abilities. Make sure you are comfortable moving along the healing process, rather than trying unnecessarily to push yourself.
- DON'T avoid the crash site: You're feeding the anxiety as Hickling, Psy.D., states.
- DO: Consider a driving course: It never hurts to be more educated. This may be embarassing to have to re-take a driver's course, but it won't hurt, and it could provide you with tools to drive safely, and calmly once again.