For many first-time drivers, navigating the road during the winter may be a stressful experience. Winter driving can be stressful for even the most experienced driver, so it’s important to talk to your teen about how they can be safe on the road during the snowy season. Here are some important driving tips to prepare your young driver for wintery road conditions:
Remove snow from hood and roof
Clear visibility is essential no matter the time of year, but it becomes critically important during the winter. Make sure to clear snow off all windows, headlights, taillights to maximize visibility. You may be tempted to skip brushing your vehicle off, but snow left on the roof or hood of the car can slide forward or backward and prevent blind spots, and could even cause issues for those driving behind you.
Scrape ice from windshield and lights
Make sure to keep an ice scraper in your vehicle to remove ice to the best of your ability. Regularly top up your wiper fluid and check your wiper blades often. Less daylight and falling snow can make it harder to see other cars, pedestrians and signs, so it’s important that you’re able to have as much visibility as possible.
Drive slowly and brake carefully
When driving in winter, slow and steady wins the race. Don’t feel pressure to match the speed limit while driving in snowy conditions, always leave a few minutes earlier than normal to make up for an adjusted driving speed. Stopping times take longer in snowy conditions, so make sure to give yourself lots of braking room and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Try to drive within the ruts of other tire tracks and keep a safe distance from snowplows or salt trucks.
Beware of ice patches
If the road looks slippery, it most likely is. Watch for ice patches on bridges, overpasses, intersections and shady areas. If you hit a patch of black ice, always gently steer your vehicle in the direction that you want to go and keep pressure on the brakes. Never use cruise control on wet, icy or snowy roads.
Keep a roadside safety kit in the vehicle
If you get stranded on the side of the road during a storm, or if you get into an accident and are waiting for assistance, you may find yourself waiting for hours. To make sure you’re prepared for the worst, build a kit with the following:
- Flashlight and emergency flares
- Jumper cables
- Extra blankets, gloves and hats
- Bottled water, non-perishable snacks
- Phone charger
- Shovel and sand or non-clumping cat litter
- Ice scraper
If you don’t need to drive, don’t
Even if you are comfortable driving in the snow, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to driving in harsh conditions. If travelling is not essential, stay home and watch the snow from the comfort of your own home. Consider implementing a winter curfew for your young driver and don’t be afraid to limit their driving during the winter months.
Do you have questions about auto insurance for your young driver? Contact us!