Tips for Winter Driving: Preparing Your Teen for Potentially Dangerous Roads

When your teen starts driving, you may talk until you’re blue in the face about safety tips for driving in different conditions, including what it’s like to drive in snow and ice. Unfortunately, nothing prepares a driver for driving in winter until you’ve hit your first patch of ice in real life. It’s often a little terrifying — even for seasoned drivers! We’ve put together a list of tips for winter driving before you hit the road – for teens and adults alike!

Pre-Winter Maintenance

Winter can and will wreak havoc on various parts of your car; the weather can prove dangerous even without ice on the roads. Before winter hits, prepare your auto for the change in weather to provide the safest possible vehicle for your teen.

Do a walk-around with your teen to check a few key parts on the car. Start with the tires. Tires lose pressure in cold weather — about 1 psi for every 10 degrees in temperature change. In many cases, as you drive a little way the tires warm up and are fine, but it’s something to always check. Teach your teen how to use a pressure gauge and how to fill up their tires – driving on low tires is dangerous enough — and the danger only multiplies with icy roads. Also teach your teen how to check the remaining tread – replace the tires if the tread is less than 2/32 of an inch.

Check the windshield wipers for any signs of damage. Ice on the windshield will further damage worn wipers, creating the potential for low visibility. Show your teen how to change wipers and, if you live in an area with ice and snow, replace the wipers with those rated to take on the weather. Fill up the wiper fluid with one rated for the temperature in your area – de-icing formulas help in cold areas by helping remove ice from the windshield.

Emergency Kit

Stock the car with an emergency kit. If your teen gets stranded due to bad road conditions, a few key items will help keep them safe.

  • Blankets — an emergency thermal blanket if possible
  • Extra cold-weather clothing such as hats, gloves and thick socks
  • Food that won’t freeze
  • Bottles of water can help keep your child comfortable while waiting for help

Make sure your teen’s phone is fully charged before heading out in snowy conditions, and ensure they have a charger or fully charged battery pack in case they need to call for help. In addition, put some kitty litter in the trunk to help provide traction if they’ve slid off the road and instruct your teen how to use it around the tires. Road flares or emergency markers help alert authorities to where your teen’s vehicle is if they’ve gone off the road.

These driving safety tips may seem basic, but they can be the difference between a simply frustrating situation and a dangerous scenario.

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