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:

  1. 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
  2. DON'T: Keep the emotions to yourself: Talking about emotions often helps one to fully understand their feelings about a traumatic event
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. DON'T avoid the crash site: You're feeding the anxiety as Hickling, Psy.D., states.
  6. 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.