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Teen Safety And Winter Driving

Regardless of weather conditions, parents worry about their kids when they start driving, but winter weather can pose hazards that can increase the likelihood of accidents for inexperienced drivers.

If you live in an area with extreme winter weather, there are measures you can take to keep your teen driver safer on the road.  Here are some driving tips to help your young driver better negotiate winter driving conditions:

Practice doesn’t always make perfect drivers, but it does help inexperienced drivers stay safer on the road.  Help your teenager practice driving in different types of weather conditions to ensure they know what safety precautions to take. Handling a car in rain, sleet, snow and ice is vastly different than on a dry road, so accompany them in these conditions and help them get the hang of it.  Although it might be nerve-racking, it’s better that they have you in the car to instruct them on proper speed, braking and steering in bad weather, so they don’t panic when they encounter it on the road alone.

Enforce the use of seatbelts.  While this is true in all weather conditions, it’s especially important in bad weather when the chances of an accident increase.  Every year drivers die or are severely injured in car accidents when they could have walked away unscathed had they been wearing their seat belt.  Always stress this fact to young drivers. Make sure they insist that their passengers are always belted-up, too.

Knowing how to handle a skidding car is imperative for driving safety in bad weather.  Most of us were told to ‘turn in the direction of the skid’ by our driving instructors.  Few of us really know what this means and most drivers will automatically turn the wheel in the opposite direction of the skid in the direction we want to car to go.  The most important thing when skidding is not to slam on the brakes, as this only makes the skid worse.  Lightly tapping on the brake is the best way to slow the car enough to correct the skid.  The bottom line is that you must teach your young driver to drive slowly enough and with enough distance from the car in front of them to lessen the chance of skidding when they have to stop in bad weather. 

Keep a safety kit in the car for bad weather driving emergencies.  It should include a first aid kit, road flares, blankets, non-perishable food and water.  If your teen driver breaks down or becomes stranded in inclement weather, these supplies can ensure their survival.

Lastly, set a good example for your young driver by practicing what you preach.  Be a safe driver and they’ll be likely to follow your lead and become safe drivers, too.