Handing the keys over to your teenager is always nerve-wracking. Your mind races as you imagine your child on the road and hope that you have taught them enough to drive safely. But this worry can be even worse during the winter, when teaching your teen to drive is especially risky.
“Temperatures are dropping, and the chillier weather often brings freezing rain, ice and snow,” writes Jessica Van Amburg in Family Circle. “While you may be a pro at handling icy roads, younger drivers can be caught off guard by the season’s challenges.”
Fortunately, by teaching your child the right skills and emergency preparedness procedures, you can help ensure their safety on the road.
Teaching The Basics
Once you begin working with your teen on winter safety, it’s important to start with the basics. Often, these skills will be crucial in difficult driving situations.
Refresh yourself on the basics.
When you are teaching someone else to drive, you might realize that you take driving basics for granted. This is why it’s important for you to reteach yourself driving best practices. Then you can know the right answers to all of your teen’s questions.
Find the right place to practice.
You likely don’t want to start practicing right on the highway. Find a parking lot or a quiet street to drive around before your child starts driving their own routes.
Emphasize the risks.
Distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding are the three most common causes of car accidents, and this can be even worse in the winter. Without instilling fear, tell your teen that these risks are real and they have a role in protecting themselves.
Teaching Emergency Prepardness
With the right driving skills, your teen can drive safely all season long. But winter conditions are not always predictable. This is why your teen should also be ready for emergencies.
Give them a mechanical demonstration.
A teen driver should know how to jump-start their car, replace their fluids, and call for assistance in the event of a mechanical failure. This way, they will feel more prepared and less frightened when they need to pull over or are unable to start their car.
Go over accident response.
With icy conditions, accidents can be difficult to avoid. If your child gets in a fender bender, they should know what to do. Tell them to call 911 and how to exchange information with the other driver. By responding well in an emergency, they can also get to one of the 5,574 registered hospitals in the United States. Ensure them that they can find care for their car and themselves no matter where they are.
Emphasize that it’s okay to pull off the road.
This is one of the most important lessons you can pass on when teaching your teen to drive in the snow. If they feel unsafe driving in the snow, they can pull into a parking lot or off the road in any way. They do not need to power through unsafe conditions, as this will only make them more nervous.
While it may seem daunting to send your teen into snowy conditions to drive, you can prepare them for any situation. By providing them with the right tools for driving and responding in an emergency, they will feel safe and confident on the road. And you can trust their abilities when handing them the keys.