As the colder months start approaching, there are several adjustments we all begin making in anticipation of the snow, ice, and longer nights. One of the biggest changes we undergo are our driving habits — and for good reason. Winter road conditions cause multiple accidents each year, and it can be particularly scary for new, young drivers.
As parents, it’s imperative that we encourage our teens to practice safe winter driving habits. Of course, that’s often easier said than done, but much like most things with teens, it never hurts to pass on all your wisdom and knowledge as a seasoned driver yourself.
Here are some ideas to get you started with teaching your child about safe driving this winter:
Writing Down Priorities
It can be hard organizing and clearly defining all the precautions your teens’ drivers should be taking during the winter months. One smart move could be to simply sit down with your teen and work together to write down all the important factors you want them to remember. A great list to get you started could include some safe driving tips such as:
- Plan your journey, no matter how small, in advance and be sure to check traffic reports and weather conditions before you leave.
- Always, always, always wear your seatbelt properly.
- Try to leave early to avoid the peak traffic hours.
- Stay fresh, alert, and distraction-free when driving.
- Keep your speed down and allow yourself plenty of time and distance between you and the traffic around you.
- Never pass if you cannot see clearly.
- Always pull off the road to use your cell phone when necessary.
- Be prepared for emergencies by making sure you have a jack and spare tire readily available.
- Always make sure your vehicle is in good running order for travel.
Tailor the list to you and your teen, incorporating other facts drivers need to know about auto accidents, and then have them memorize, take it with them in the car, tape it to their bathroom mirror, etc. You can’t always be in the car with them, but that doesn’t mean they have to take on the winter roads all alone. Your wisdom will certainly come in handy when they encounter slick roads.
The millennial generation experiences and often participates in new modes of transportation these days — more so than the generations before them, according to Ohio University. As a more environmentally focused generation, public transport, carpooling, and even biking and scooters have become viable options for millennials and, in turn, their kids.
As Millennials have grown older and their own children are finally beginning driving, another generation is now being exposed to the many alternatives to driving a car. Winter presents the perfect chance for teens to learn about alternative transportation options, especially if they don’t feel ready to take on those icy roads quite yet. Furthermore, learning how to navigate the local subway or bus system can help them feel more independent while still keeping them safe. While it will be important to eventually practice those winter driving skills, public transportation is an option that will always be available on those particularly tough driving days.
Annoy Them (More Than Usual)
Remind your teens every day that the point of being extra careful while driving in winter is to keep them, their friends, and others safe from harm. It’s also worth taking the time to let them know exactly the steps to take should they end up in an accident (call 911, get to a safe location and don’t move, breathe).
They might roll their eyes at you, but at the end of the day, you’ll never regret spending the extra time emphasizing those crucial safety habits. Remind them that nothing on their phone is worth getting hurt or even dying over, and to always remain calm during storms and slick roads. And of course, be sure to impart to your teen that they can always hitch a ride with you if they don’t feel comfortable driving that day.