Winter driving can be intimidating for anyone, but it’s especially overwhelming for new drivers who may not be as comfortable behind the wheel. Snow and ice can make driving conditions dangerous and preparing your teen drivers properly could save their life.
Having a conversation with your teen about the dangers of driving in winter weather is a great way to help prepare them. Share some of your own experience and some winter driving dos and don’ts such as:
Do Take it slow. Traction is one of the biggest challenges when roads are icy and slippery. It’s important to drive in snow and be aware that you may need additional space to brake to avoid an accident.
Do Travel on familiar roads. Winter conditions can add a whole new level of risk. It’s best to stick with familiar roads that your teen knows instead of roads that are unknown to them.
Do Keep your gas take at least half full. Running low on gas can be stressful normally, but in winter conditions it can be dangerous or deadly.
Do Inspect your vehicle before driving. Lower temperatures, snow, and ice can impact or damage a vehicle in all sorts of ways. Doing a quick inspection of your vehicle including clearing off any snow and ice and checking your tire pressure can make a big difference in safety when driving.
Don’t drive if conditions are poor. Visibility can become an issue when a winter storm arises. It’s important to advise your teen that in the event they can’t see properly, they should drive slowly or pull over. If weather conditions become too dangerous, they should not drive. Alternatively, if the weather is too dangerous, they should stay home and wait for clearer weather.
Don’t warm up your vehicle in an enclosed space. Warming up your vehicle can be better for your vehicle’s performance as well as make driving more comfortable for you. However, it is important to make sure your teen knows how dangerous it can be to start and run their vehicle while in an enclosed space such as a garage.
In addition to having a conversation about the dangers of driving in winter weather, it’s also a good idea to help your teen know how to properly prepare the vehicle for the winter season. This can include teaching them how to check that their tires are in good condition, that fluids such as antifreeze and oil are at appropriate levels, and knowing how to check their battery is in good working condition.
Additionally, take a moment to help them pack some essentials into their vehicle such as a snow brush, ice scraper, and small shovel. It’s also a good idea to have basic necessities such as a phone charger, flashlight, gloves, hat, and blanket in the vehicle just in case.
Driving in slippery, snowy weather can be scary! It’s important to take the time to make sure your teen drivers are prepared and know how to handle themselves in an emergency. For more winter weather driving tips from the United States Department of Transportation visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-tips.