As a parent with a teen driver, your first instinct might be to keep teen drivers at home when winter weather hits. Especially if you live in the northeast where winter weather often means heavy snowfall and ice, winter driving presents its own set of challenges. Often time’s new drivers might not be ready for the challenges that come from driving with snow and ice on the road. However, this may be the perfect time to teach your teen the necessary driving skills to handle bad road conditions. You can also teach them proper winter car maintenance and prepare them for emergencies.
Here are just a few things you can do to make sure your teen is prepared for whatever the winter roads may throw at them.
Always Be Prepared
One of the best things you can teach your teen about winter driving is the value of being prepared, should they find themselves in an emergency situation. One of the best ways to do this is to build a winter emergency kit together. Some suggestions include
- Blankets, Gloves, and hats
- Snow Boots
- Jumper Cables
- Bottled Water and other non perishable foods
- Sand or Cat Litter
- A Shovel
Practice Driving in a Safe Area
The best way to prepare your teen for winter driving is to let them drive in winter conditions. Granted you probably don’t want to do this on a busy street or highway, but if you can find an empty parking lot or other open space this can present a perfect opportunity for some firsthand practice. Make sure they understand acceleration, steering, and braking in bad conditions.
Review Winter Driving Safety Procedures
When it comes to winter driving there are a few basic procedures you should make sure your teen driver is aware of. A few of these include
- Adjust speed to conditions which usually means driving below the speed limit.
- Look and steer where you want to go. Do not fixate on obstacles or trees when sliding
- Increase following distance to allow for extra braking time
- Always drive with the headlights on
- Drive on the ruts in the snow
- Don’t use cruise control
- When skidding or sliding take your foot off the gas and steer into the skid. Allow the car to regain traction before steering.
Remember it’s always ok to say no to your teens request to drive especially in freezing rain or black ice conditions. When they do have to drive though, you can do your best to make sure they’re prepared for what winter will throw at them.