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Prepare your teen driver for winter road conditions

It’s the middle of October and that means that the holiday season is officially upon us. The leaves on the trees have changed and before we know it, Connecticut will be covered in snow. You have driven your way through several winters, but your new teen driver hasn’t.

You are nervous about your child hitting the streets of Waterbury once the weather changes. Before they head out, you want to ensure that your teen is ready for all of the possible conditions and challenges winter can bring.

Maintaining the car

Winter impacts more than just driving skill. The bitter weather impacts vehicles themselves. Have your teen get in the habit of looking the car over and prepping before driving. Have them:

  • Give the engine time to warm up before driving
  • Make sure the windows have been scraped and are clear
  • Check the tires to ensure they are properly inflated and have substantial threading
  • Keep the gas tank at the at least half- full
  • Pack a road kit in case of emergency
  • Carry an ice scrapper and small shovel

These habits are great for winter, but may be something you encourage your teen to continue to do year-round.

Handling the car

As you know, driving in the winter requires a completely different skill-set than driving in summer months. Your child certainly heard this while learning how to drive, but it will be important to remind them of these skills. Talk to them about how to handle the car in different conditions. Some important tips to remember include:

  • Slowing down and speeding up gradually
  • Driving at decreased speeds
  • Keeping a larger following distance between cars
  • Avoiding abrupt stops
  • Turning into a skid if the car starts to spin or slide
  • Avoiding spinning the wheels
  • Turning hazard lights on in low-visibility conditions

Encourage your teen to always check the weather before hitting the road. It would be good to take them out to practice in a parking lot or other open area once the snow starts to fall. Also, don’t forget to prepare them for what they should do if they are ever in an accident. You can never prepare too much.

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