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A split screen shows a young woman on the phone with her mom. Both look uncomfortable. The caption says 'Mom, I crashed my car.'

It’s every teen’s nightmare: Getting in a car wreck and having to tell your parents. As if the accident weren’t bad enough, telling your parents adds another layer of conflict. You don’t want to let them down or risk punishment. However, being mature and honest can help you earn your parent’s trust and resolve the issue in a more timely manner.

Watch our video below to see how some of these scenarios work out, using hones, humble and candid responses.

 

Here is what is happening in our different approaches:

In Scenario 1, Daisy, our teen driver, is calm, gentle, and straightforward with the details. She prepares her mom for the bad news by telling her first that she has to tell her something she won’t want to hear.

Then, she gives the essential details in a calm, clear manner. This helps her mom to stay calm and reassured as well. By showing responsibility and giving her mom the important information upfront, Daisy’s mom takes those cues and doesn’t respond reactively.

In Scenario 2, Daisy is a little blunter and does not give as many details. Her mom reacts more negatively, but when Daisy tells her she is sorry, she is a little more forgiving since Daisy admitted responsibility.

In Scenario 3, Daisy doesn’t take caution, and her mom reacts. Notice that Daisy doesn’t give details about the accident other than rejecting blame. This causes her mom to believe she is irresponsible since she doesn’t admit any fault, nor does she apologize for the incident. While this is not necessarily a “wrong” way to tell your parents you were in an accident, it isn’t the most practical approach.

Other tips

Not every teen-parent relationship is the same and these conversations can go a hundred different ways. While we wanted to show the difference in tone and responsibility in the call, there are other factors to consider as well.

Call them on the scene

A blue convertible sits in the middle of the road with its front end crushed in.

Your parents will appreciate you calling them as soon as possible. Call the police first if any party is injured, or the cars cannot be removed from the road. Next, call your parents.

Try to stay calm so you don’t escalate the tone of the call, as Daisy did in Scenario 3. If you’re both calm, you can make better decisions and take care of things quicker. Being hysterical will make the situation worse.

Try starting with this: “Mom, I’ve got some bad news.” Just like Daisy did in Scenario 1, starting with this allows your parents to mentally prepare for what you’re about to tell them.

Be as clear as possible

There are a few things your parents will want to know. Firstly, are you OK? Be sure to tell them if you’re hurt. If you’re just sore or shaken up, tell them this and tell them you think you’ll be fine.

Secondly, what happened? Try to explain what caused the accident. It could be as simple as “I lost control of the car,” or “I didn’t react fast enough to (insert other car’s action here).”

They will also want to know the condition of the car. What kind of damage it has (like the front is crunched, or the passenger-side doors are caved in) and how bad it is. This can be helpful if they’re meeting you at the scene, as another way to mentally prepare them for the reality of the crash.

Be prepared for a variety of emotions.

Your parents love you and want you to be safe. So they’re going to be conflicted whether to be mad that you acted unsafe (even if you didn’t mean to) and they’re also going to be happy you’re all right. They may be angry at the other driver. They may be happy you felt comfortable coming to them right away. Whatever the case, telling them is the right thing to do.

Share your location

Your parents may want to come to the scene if you’re close by. Having them there can be reassuring and helpful. Even if you’re embarrassed by the situation, it’s probably best to have them help you. As you saw in all three scenarios, Daisy’s mom is ready to head to the crash scene, and Daisy has sent the location address.

Offer to help with the damages, if possible
A person sits on the floor with a bunch of 100 dollar bills fanned out in their hands
If you can help pay for the damages, you should offer to do so.

After the crash, it’s important to talk about who’s going to be responsible for paying for the damage. Usually, teens don’t have much money to repair the car, especially when they need it to get to work. So, many parents will either pay for it or compromise.

However, if you have an allowance, you could offer to put part of it toward repairs. The same can be done if you have a job. Depending on your income, you might be able to work out a payment plan for you and your parents to divide up the costs.

If you aren’t able to financially help with the cost of repairs, offer to make up for it in another way. You could take on more chores for a certain number of weeks.

Your parents will further trust you for wanting to take responsibility for the damage.

If you were being irresponsible, you may not want to tell your parents, but doing so will make them trust you even more. Recognizing irresponsible behavior and correcting it in the future will help you become a better driver.

Remember, trust goes a long way. Whether you admit it or not, you likely depend on your parents. You can help one another by communicating openly and honestly.

For more teen content visit our In the Front Seat teen driver page.

A deer stands in the middle of a snow-covered mountain forest road.
Deer are a dangerous threat to cars, especially at night.

Whether you’re driving on I-10 west toward San Antonio or up I-35 to Austin, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. These rolling hills boast their beauty all year long with magical views of spectacular sunsets. What might be the only drawback of driving through the area you might ask? Being in a deer collision.

 

According to an annual report done by State Farm, the likelihood of hitting a deer in Texas is 1 in 157. Texas was ranked the 37th riskiest state where drivers are most likely to collide with a deer or animal. November is a notorious month for deer-related collisions, as it’s the beginning of the general season for deer hunting.

Even the most cautious of drivers can find themselves face-to-face with an animal on the road. Sometimes, a deer collision is unavoidable, so we’ve come up with a few steps you should take after hitting a deer.

1. Make sure no one in the vehicle is injured

Hitting a deer can cause death or severe injury to you and passengers in your car. It’s important to get help for any injured persons before anything else.

2. Move your vehicle to a safe place

Pull to the side of the road, out of traffic’s way, and turn on your hazard lights. This will let you fully assess the damage without being in harm’s way. The lights will also allow other drivers to be aware of you (and possibly the deer) on the road.

3. Call the police

If a deer is blocking traffic, it could be a threat to other drivers. Call your local law enforcement agency and notify them of the situation. If you can move the dead deer out of traffic, do so, but do not tag or remove the deer from the area.

4. Document

Take photographs of the road, your surroundings, and damage. This can be helpful for filing an insurance claim.

5. Don’t touch the animal if you can avoid it

A frightened and wounded deer could hurt you or itself. Do not touch the animal if you don’t need to immediately move it off the road for safety.

6. Contact your insurance company

File an insurance claim if you have car damage you wish to be repaired. Keep in mind that your insurance premium may go up if you make a claim. However, you’ll want to do so for serious damage, since the repair will probably cost quite a bit.

7. Don’t immediately drive away

Look for loose parts, broken lights and other hazards as deer can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Drive away slowly and keep an eye out for unusual noises or movement of your car.

A deer stands in the middle of a paved road near tall, green trees

Texas had nearly 110,000 reported animal collisions from June and July of this year. Be more aware during the hours before sunrise and just after sunset because that’s when drivers are most likely to be in a deer collision. One estimator in the Dripping Springs area says the average cost to repair a vehicle with deer collision damage can range anywhere from $3,000-$5,000.

If you’ve been in a deer collision accident, upload your photos of the damage to our Smartphone Estimating Tool to get a quick and easy estimate.

A man in a t-shirt and glasses looks at his phone, while leaning on a brick wall.
You don’t have to choose the collision company your insurance recommends. Do some research before taking your vehicle to a shop.

When you are involved in a car wreck, you may not have the time to research where you want your car fixed. Your insurance company may recommend a collision repair center, and it may seem like an easy solution to go with that shop. However, you have the right to choose where you want your vehicle repaired.

Look for a certified collision repair shop, which means technicians at that location have completed training by the manufacturer to repair that vehicle model.

An insurance company may or may not recommend a local body shop offers certified repair.

Using the Insurance Recommendation

The majority of insurance companies have a list of auto body shops with which they have established relationships and that meet their criteria. These shops may include cheaper prices and fast repairs.

If you decide to use the recommended shop, be sure to ask questions. Find out if that collision center uses cheaper parts to offset low insurance payments. Ask around for recommendations about that location, and do a quick search online for reviews.

Perks of a recommended body shop

Using a body shop recommended by your insurance company can have benefits. Ask if your insurance provider will guarantee the repairs for as long as you own it. If the repairs do not hold up while you own the car, your insurance company will take care of further repairs.

AMM Collision works with any insurance company. Because we believe in providing you the highest quality repairs, we always use OEM (or original equipment manufacturer) parts to ensure they fit, will function properly, and that your car maintains its value.

When you need collision repair, get a free estimate for collision repair straight from your smartphone.

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A green clipboard with a repair checklist, a hammer and measuring tape sit on a table next to a damaged white car.
Seemingly minor damage may be hiding more serious damage beneath the hood.

When a car has been damaged in a wreck, some of the damage will be obvious, such as a broken taillight or a dented door. What is not immediately noticeable, and may be invisible unless you are a trained auto body expert, is any damage that may be behind the body of the vehicle.

Technicians are trained inspect for damage in the operating parts and the computer system within a car. They know if there is further damage beyond the cosmetics of the vehicle. This is why it is important to get an expert to estimate your damage and recommend a repair plan.

A dent may not be just a dent

Never assume that if a collision is minor the damage is simply cosmetic. For example, if someone backs into your car and puts a dent in your door, there could be further damage inside the door, such as the power windows not operating properly.

If the dents are much larger and more caved in to the vehicle, a technician should inspect the car for safety reasons.

Review the estimate

When you bring your vehicle in to a body shop, the location should give you a repair estimate. Most repair shops provide free inspection estimates for customers. This estimate explains the cost for parts and the labor to repair the vehicle. Be sure to review the estimate and ask questions before the work begins so that you have a good understanding of what needs to be fixed and where the costs are going.

AMM Collision has a simple way to get the estimate process started. Visit our new Smartphone Estimating Tool and you will get a repair estimate within 24 hours of submitting photos. This estimate is preliminary to give you an initial idea of the cost because it is based on damage that is visible in the photos. Once a technician takes a close look at the vehicle, they can determine if there is further damage underneath the body of the car.

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distracted driving car accidentIn-car screens, often referred to as vehicle infotainment systems, are becoming a common built-in feature on most newer cars. Like many other devices, including cell phones, these are adding to driver distractions, and consequently leading to accidents.

The AAA Foundation conducted a study recently that showed while the technology is convenient in some ways, it results in some startling statistics related to distractions while driving.

No-texting law in the Lone Star State

The most commonly talked about distraction while driving is a cell phone. That’s why legislation was created in Texas, and other states, to address this issue. As of September 1, 2017 in Texas, it is against the law to text, read, or write messages on your phone while driving. This law refers to handheld communication devices and does not address the in-car systems.

As with any device, officials urge drivers to only focus on the road while operating a vehicle.

Greater chance of having a collision

In the past, AAA has conducted studies on driver distraction and discovered that if a driver stops focusing on the road for just two seconds, it can double the chance of having a car wreck.

The recent study found that when drivers use the in-car technology systems, they had more than 40 seconds of mental and visual distraction. And about 40 percent of drivers nationwide use these systems.

The study compared drivers using 30 different types of systems, including those that allowed web surfing and checking social media sites. Any of these can lead to a serious car accident.

No one wants to experience an accident caused by distracted driving. If you do get into an accident, AMM Collision is here to repair your car so you can safely get back on the road again.

For more helpful content, follow AMM on Twitter.

A family of deer approach a road in a wooded area.
Deer are common in the Central Texas area. Use these tips to avoid hitting them on the road.

Annually across the country, there are more than one million deer-related accidents. The Central Texas area is no stranger to these types of collisions and as a local auto body shop, AMM Collision repairs dozens of cars involved in accidents with deer each year.

Any time you are driving, it is important to keep your eyes on the road. Pay close attention when driving in hilly and wooded areas where deer may suddenly come out and run toward cars. This is common in the Hill Country, especially in the evenings when animals are hard to spot outside your immediate line of sight.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid hitting a deer.

Pay attention

Deer typically roam more often during dusk or dawn, so pay attention if you are driving during these hours. If you are not familiar with the area where you are driving, look for caution signs that alert drivers to wildlife in the area.

Remember, if you see one deer there may be more nearby. They normally travel in packs.

Make a bright path

If the roads are not well lit and you do not have oncoming traffic, use high beams to create a brighter path and give you a better opportunity to see a deer before you come upon it.

Keep control

If you see a deer, slow down and brake firmly, but never swerve. Swerving can cause you to hit another car or lose control. Instead, brake and honk your horn loudly, which can potentially scare the animal away.

The deer may move, but since you won’t know what direction they may go, swerving can make the situation worse.

If you hit a deer…

Using extra caution can help to avoid an accident, but it still may not be enough. If you do hit a deer, call law enforcement and the local game warden.

Don’t touch the animal if it is injured as it could hurt you. It’s best to have trained professionals care for an injured deer. If the deer is dead, it is OK to move it off the road, but it is against the law in Texas to take it with you.

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A man sits in his vehicle behind the wheel, looking at his smartphone.
Texas’ no-text law makes texting and driving illegal.

Texas implemented a state no-text law for drivers in September 2017. While many counties already had cell phone bans, this new law bans reading and writing text communications across the state.

For some, it is an adjustment to wait to text or use hands-free devices, which is why we’re providing some tips.

Understanding the new law is not only important to avoid a fine and ticket, but also for safety.

Out of sight, out of mind

If you are a driver who feels the need to immediately respond to a message, it is time to kick the habit. The easiest way to avoid the temptation is to commit to safe driving and place your cell out of reach. Either put it in the glove box on silent, or put your phone on airplane mode so you can’t receive messages. Removing the temptation from your immediate reach will encourage you to wait until later to check your phone.

Mount your phone, but don’t touch it when moving

Though it’d be ideal to turn your phone off or put it out of sight, some people use their phones for navigation or screening calls. For this, we recommend a magnetic dash mount for your phone, placed in a spot that’s close to your line of vision. This way, even if you need to look at your phone for navigation, you aren’t taking your eyes far off the road.

Your message alerts will still pop up if you’re using your phone or navigation features, however. Some phones have the option to turn off alerts for specific apps. If you’re most tempted by your messaging app, turn off the alerts when you’re about to drive.

Know the law

City ordinances that were in effect prior to the state law are still enforced, including hands-free ordinances. Invest in a Bluetooth device if your car is not equipped with this feature. This will allow you to talk and also send messages through a voice-to-text app or feature on your phone.

With the no-text law, drivers can still make and receive phone calls, however, if you are making a call while driving it must be hands-free. Use a voice-activated feature on your phone to dial the number for you.

The no-text law does not prevent you from texting or reading while stopped, but once the car is in motion you must put the cell phone down. If an officer sees a driver in motion with their head looking down, or the car not maintaining a lane, the officer can pull the car over.

Texting and driving accidents can be prevented. Share these tips with other Texas drivers and make our roads safer.

For more helpful information, visit AMM on Facebook.

a man and woman look at a clipboard in a parking lot, next to a car.
There are a few questions you should ask when looking for an auto body repair shop.

As a driver in the busy Central Texas area, it can be overwhelming to find a quality collision repair shop that you can trust. Getting the best value for what you pay is also important since collision repair shops charge different prices.

It takes some research and plenty of questions to narrow down the right body shop that will meet your needs. As you search, keep a few steps in mind that will help you determine which is a quality auto body shop.

1. Location

Everyone wants to find a repair shop that is convenient to them: one of the biggest factors here is the location. It may be more convenient to go to the closest repair shop, but prices in that area may also affect the price of your repair. If it is in an area where property is more expensive, they may charge more per hour for labor to cover the overhead costs.

2. Ask about certifications

When inquiring about auto body shops, find out if the shop is certified by the maker of your car. The certification verifies that the shop has the equipment needed to repair your vehicle and the technicians are trained properly. Manufacturers will train techs themselves to make sure their repairs meet manufacturer standards.

3. Get recommendations

Talk to people you know to find out where they take their cars for auto body repair. One of the best ways to find a good shop is to go where someone you trust has also had a great experience.

A woman in a floral button-up shirt leans back and scrolls on her phone in the backseat.
Do a search for body shop reviews on Google and Yelp. Keep in mind not all reviews will be reliable, but it will give you an idea of the experiences other customers have had.

There are also plenty of reviews online via Google and Yelp, and possibly the auto body shop’s site. Also, the Better Business Bureau can let you know if a body shop has multiple complaints. If there are several good recommendations for the same shop from sources you trust, it’s likely that shop performs quality work.

4. Warranty

A reliable collision shop stands behind the work it does to a vehicle. Inquire about the warranty to body repairs and to paint on your car. Find out specifically how long the warranty lasts and what it covers.

5. Ask about estimates

When inquiring about estimates, find out if the repair shop offers free estimates, and ask if they use the insurance company’s estimate or their own.

You’ll want a repair shop that provides their own estimate based on the technician’s interpretation of repairs, rather than the insurance company’s estimate of what work needs to be done. The insurance company has an interest in keeping their cost as low as possible, sometimes causing them to skimp on what is needed.

For more information related to car repair, follow AMM on Twitter.

There is a lot of ground to cover on Texas roads. Naturally, there are going to be a lot of accidents in such a big state.

In 2016, there was a death toll of 3,794 in Texas car crashes, and around 14,000 serious injury crashes. That’s the equivalent of one person killed every two hours, and one injury every 2 minutes during the year of 2016.

With so many cars on the roads in this area, accidents will happen. Some of the reasons for collisions may not come as a surprise.

Collision in Central Texas

There are a number of causes for accidents and weather can always be a contributing factor. While some might think that speed is one of the top reasons for collisions in Harris County, there were 1,573 speed related accidents last year. DUI accidents were slightly higher with 2,941 crashes in 2016.

Distracted driving was one of the main causes, with 14,804 wrecks in Harris County last year. Failure to pay attention is the second highest factor for collisions in Texas’ urban areas. This can be texting while driving, talking on the phone, or any other type of distraction. Bexar County, or the San Antonio area, had the most distracted driving accidents with more than 26,000.

Steps to take after a collision

After an accident, assess if you have any injuries, and if you can safely get out of the vehicle. If you, your passengers, or anyone else involved in the accident has injuries, call 9-1-1 immediately. Law enforcement must be notified if there are injuries, deaths, or property damages. Exchange insurance and contact information with other drivers.

If your car isn’t drivable, you will have to call for a tow truck to transport your vehicle. Some collision repair shops will arrange this directly if you call them first.


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