One of the biggest milestones teens get to experience is getting their driver’s license. Naturally, parents worry how great their teen’s driving skills are. That’s why it is necessary to go over driver safety tips with your teens before they get on the road.
by Troop Atomic Mommy
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A teen getting their driver’s license should be a time for celebration. It is also a time of great worry and stress for parents. That is because we don’t know how our teens will manage on the road when the weather turns for the worse.
We’ve all faced bad weather on the roads at one point. We have even experienced how great weather can turn bad at the drop of a hat, and how that’s caused even the best of drivers to get into accidents. So if adults can still find navigating the roadway difficult during terrible weather, then it will definitely be challenging for teens as well. Because of this fact, it is only natural to want to give our teens extra safety tips that could mean the difference between a crash or getting home safely. Here are 9 safety tips to give your teens for driving in bad weather.
#1 Plan The Route Ahead Of Time And Check Weather Forecasts
If you know that bad weather is on the way, it’s only natural for you to plan your route ahead of time. This simple but effective step, should also be taught to your teens. This will help them avoid driving in areas prone to flooding, where major construction is occurring, and where other dangerous conditions are occurring. It is also a good idea to tell your teen to check the weather forecast before heading out. This way, they can be prepared for what lies ahead.
Here are a few key things to teach your teen to be aware of prior to heading on the road:
-The current weather conditions
-The forecasted weather for the duration of your trip
-The maintenance of the vehicle (Do the brake lights work? How about the turn signals? Are the tires flat?)
#2 Drive Slowly And Carefully
When the weather is bad, it’s important to take your time and drive slowly. You will need to repeatedly tell your teen this. Why? Because teens like driving fast. And fast driving with poor reflexes, equals a bad accident or at least a few stops by the police. That’s why teaching your kids the proper following distance from a car, how to switch lanes properly, and how to drive slowly and carefully, are all great ideas to keep your teens safe while driving. In addition, be sure to tell them to pay attention to the road and their surroundings. This way, they can spot potential hazards before they become a problem.
#3 Use The Headlights
Visibility on the road during bad weather is a major factor for accidents on the road. So when visibility is reduced, turning on the headlights can literally be a lifesaver. But does your teen know this? By telling them how this tiny gesture can help save their life and the lives of others while driving on the road during bad weather, you will be adding extra protective measures to having your teens return safely home.
Be sure to have your teens practice checking their headlights are functioning prior to every departure, because in some states, police can pull a person over for this. And a ticket like this can be costly.
#4 Be Cautious of Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning occurs when tires lose contact with the road surface because of water. It can also occur during light snowfall, flooding, and mud filled roads. As a result of the varying weather conditions that can cause hydroplaning, your teen could be at risk of losing control of their vehicle. To avoid hydroplaning, explain to your teen the benefits of driving slowly and carefully in wet conditions. Teach them how to ease off the gas pedal, and to not brake suddenly, if their vehicle starts hydroplaning.
#5 Increase The Following Distance
Bad weather can quickly cause visibility to be reduced. Naturally, if your teen’s vehicle is following behind another vehicle too closely, this will take away their ability to react quickly if something causes the vehicle to suddenly stop. So, be sure to guide your teen drivers on what a good following distance is on good weather days AND bad weather days. A good rule of thumb is to keep at least one or two full car length’s distance away from the vehicle in front.
#6 Drive Defensively
When the weather is bad, it’s essential to be extra cautious. This means being aware of other drivers and their actions, but teens are rather new drivers, so they won’t exactly know what it means to be aware of other drivers’ actions. It is your job to show them during their driving lessons with you. If you can’t or they don’t get it, it might be a good idea to have them take a defensive driving course. As an added benefit, if your teen takes such a course, their car insurance rate could be given a discount. Just make sure you call your car insurance company to ask which defensive driving courses are approved for a discount.
#7 Brake Gently
Sudden acceleration and braking can cause a vehicle to lose traction. For example, if traffic flow is at a good pace, but the weather suddenly changes to lower visibility, a teen would be forced to use the brakes more aggressively. However, because bad weather can cause slick roads, aggressive braking can cause a vehicle to spin-out, causing a pile up or worse. Teach your teen diver how to brake gently when driving in bad weather conditions to avoid this.
#8 Don’t Use Cruise Control
Cruise control is great for the experienced driver, which teens are not. As this option causes the vehicle to unexpectedly speed up or slow down, and requires faster reflexes should traffic flow change, it could cause serious accidents. Therefore, it is better altogether if your teen avoids using cruise control, at least until they become better drivers.
#9 What To Do If An Accident Occurs
Teen drivers tend to have a reputation for getting in pretty bad accidents. So teaching your teen to stay calm during such an event, and what next steps to take, is essential. Here are 6 things to remind them to do, should they get into an accident or witness one:
- Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Regardless of injury, be sure to tell your teen to call 911 immediately.
- If there are injuries, it is best to not move the injured person. Wait for the ambulance.
- Move the vehicle to the side of the road, if possible. This will help avoid further accidents.
- If the vehicle is disabled, get out of it, and move to a safer spot off of the road.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and wait for help to arrive.
- If there are injuries to the person or persons, or damages to vehicles, you will need to speak to a specialty lawyer like duquelaw.com because they are equipped with the knowledge to handle accident lawsuits.
Bad weather doesn’t have to ruin your teen’s day of driving. They can stay safe on the road no matter what Mother Nature throws their way by teaching them these tips. Hopefully, they’ll hear your concerns and guidance, and turn them into good driving skills.