Winter driving is dangerous for everyone, but teen drivers especially as they lack the judgement and experience of adult drivers. If you live in an area that experiences snow, you need to take on the responsibility of teaching your traveling teen safe winter driving habits before the next storm.
Stock the car for winter
Your teen needs all of the necessary tools for winter driving. As winter approaches, provide your teen with an ice scraper, windshield de-icer, a flashlight and a small shovel. If your area has snow parking regulations, ensure your teen fully understands them. If you regularly get snow, consider having winter tires put on the car, as they provide more grip on slippery roads.
Demonstrate how to check the tire pressure and how to properly inflate tires, as low pressure tires can contribute to accidents. It’s also a smart idea to prepare your teen for everyday roadside emergencies, so you may want to keep a spare tire, set of jumper cables and flares in the car. Teach your teen to use these items.
Practice before a big storm
Your teen’s first time driving in snow shouldn’t be on the way home from school when the roads aren’t yet plowed. Next time it snows, drive to a large parking lot and have your teen practice driving. In snow, teach her to drive slow and steady and to leave more response time for braking and steering. As she learns how her car responds in snow, she will get a better sense of the hazards of winter driving. It’s much better that she practice steering into a skid in an empty parking lot than on a crowded street. If your teen can demonstrate safe driving and braking in the snow, you’ll feel much better knowing she’s out on the roads.
Set limits for safety’s sake
As a parent, you can limit her access to her car in snowy conditions until you feel she’s gained enough winter driving experience to be safe. For example, you may decide to limit teen night driving when the roads are icy or snowy, since visibility is reduced. Assert your authority in needed situations to protect your teen’s safety.
Investing the time to teach your teen about safe winter driving helps keep her — and others on the road — safe in suboptimal driving conditions. Dedicate a few hours to this important lesson.