Winter Driving Techniques Part 1

With winter arriving quickly – we will post a 5 part Winter Driving Techniques series for teen drivers and their parents. Below is Part 1 – please read and share with your teen and their friends.

Getting underway
To see and be seen by others requires the driver to
clean all snow and ice from the entire vehicle — hood,
roof, trunk, lights and windows. Snow left on any of
these areas increases the possibility that visibility will
be affected when the vehicle is in motion. Before
departing, start your vehicle and turn the heater on for
a minute or two before using the defroster. This will
prevent moisture from fogging the windshield when
warm air hits the cold glass.

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to see.

Try to avoid driving when visibility is poor, but if you
must drive, keep your speed low, and your headlights
on low beam. If conditions worsen, pull off to a safe
spot as soon as possible.

Clear a path in front of the wheels for several feet. This
can be accomplished by driving forward and backward
in the parking space, or if the snow is too deep, some
additional shoveling may be required.

With the front wheels pointed straight to minimize
rolling resistance, shift to drive (use second gear for
manual transmissions) and with gentle pressure of the
accelerator, try to ease out of the parking space without
spinning the wheels. If you let the wheels spin, you will
only dig deeper into the snow.

When more traction is needed, use traction mats or
spread some sand, salt or any handy abrasive material
in front of and in back of the drive wheels. When using
devices under the wheels for additional traction, or
when wheels are digging into dirt or gravel and you are
receiving pushing assistance, do not let anyone stand
directly ahead or behind the drive wheels as they
may be injured by objects thrown by the spinning tires.

Stop if the wheels continue to spin and create a deeper
rut, and consider attempting to rock the vehicle out of
the rut. To rock a vehicle, start slowly in low gear (use
second gear for manual transmission vehicle). When the
vehicle will go no farther forward, release the
accelerator to permit the car to roll back. When the
vehicle stops its backward motion, apply minimum
pressure on the accelerator again.

Repeat these actions in rapid succession. Each rock
should move the vehicle a little farther forward or back
of the hole you are in. When you rock, you must use
minimum power to help prevent the wheels from
spinning and digging in deeper. Check the owner’s
manual for the recommended procedure.


Teen Drivers Ignoring Cell Phone Bans

According to this article, there has been an uptick of cell phone use in the states where they have banned cell phone use while driving for minors. What I found more troubling, is that in those states most parents didn’t even know about the teen driving law.

“The survey that asked parents and teenagers by phone about the ban, showed that teenage drivers were more likely than parents to say they knew about it: only 39 per cent of parents said they were aware of the new law compared with 64 per cent of teenage drivers.”

I worry when I see evidence of complacency by parents of teenagers. If the law had been that your 2-year-old child needed to be in a double strapped car seat, most parents would know and comply. When our kids get older, we are not only handing over the responsibility of complying with driving laws, but we are also handing over the responsibility to even know what those laws are. Some of that responsibility still remains with us, the parents.

When teaching independence there needs to be checks and balances. You need to check(find out what the laws are, establish your rules) and balance(talk to your teen and follow through with your discipline). In order to find out what the driving laws are for your teen, visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website.

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Lest you feel I sound too much like the expert and not enough like a real mom, let me share that my oldest answered her cell phone while driving home from her license test. Her reason? It rang. My wonderful-but-often-too-lenient-husband was flabbergasted. For a man who doesn’t like to do ‘the talks’ in our home, he certainly did a fine job that day. Our family rule: Turn off the cell phone before starting the car.

Link to cell phone laws for each state:

What are your thoughts? What rules have you established with your teen driver?

Source: Denise Witmer, Guide to Parenting Teens since 1997

Safe Drive – Teen Driving

One of the most important jobs that parents have in this world is to try to teach their children different lessons that will keep them safe as they grow up, and keep them safe into adulthood. When it comes to something parents can do to make sure that their children stay safe in the world, few things can pay off down the road as much as teaching them to be a safe driver. Being a safe driver is one of the best things someone can say about somebody else. Safe drivers are benefited in many ways, but the most important way is that through their actions they and their passengers have a better chance of avoiding a possible car accident. Another way that safe drivers are benefited is financially. Safer drivers tend to pay less for car insurance than drivers who exhibit the characteristics of unsafe drivers.

When teenagers pass their driving test, the lessons on being a safe driver should not be discontinued. When teaching teens to be safe drivers after they have their license, there are a number of areas that need to be covered.


Peer Pressure
An important lesson for teens to learn is that they need to not let their friends talk them into doing something behind the wheel that they know they shouldn’t be doing. Peer pressure is one of the toughest things that a young person can come up against. They have to deal with it at school, in fashion, with drinking and drugs, and with driving too. Getting through to a teen and letting them see the big picture of what reckless actions can lead to can be a great way to get them to be strong enough to say no to their friends.

Avoid Traffic Congestion
When a teenager first gets their license, it is best to try and limit their driving to non-congested areas of the roadways. An inexperienced driver can quickly become overwhelmed when surrounded by heavy traffic. This can cause a stressful situation, and even a seasoned driver can feel tense. Even a small mistake in heavy congested traffic can be serious. Allow a teen driver to ease into driving in heavy traffic slowly, this way they can use one experience to build on another and in the end be confident in even the worst of traffic jams.

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Traffic Accident Ramifications
One of the best ways to convince teen drivers to be more safe is to not only warn them about the possibility that they may be involved in a traffic accident, but also explain to them what being involved in a traffic accident will mean. It should be explained to them how if the accident is serious enough, it may mean that they no longer have a working vehicle. They need to be shown exactly how a traffic accident will affect their and your insurance rates. Above all, a teenager needs to have it explained to them how a traffic accident can affect both them and their passengers in case of serious injury.

Night Driving
Anything that reduces what a driver can see is a potential hazzard. One of the biggest things that can reduce a driver’s vision is darkness. Having an inexperienced teen driver avoid driving at night when they first get their license is a great way to improve their chances of being a safe driver. Like heavy traffic situations, having a young driver gradually become familiar with driving at night is far preferable to having them drive at night whenever they feel like it.

Instill Confidence
Reassuring a teenage driver when they do things correctly can go a long way in making them feel more confident when behind the wheel. A confident driver is less apprehensive when out on the road. A driver who is not confident, and waits until the last minute or until it is too late to make a crucial decision, may end up not making that decision in time. It is also important that when a teen driver’s actions are wrong that they be corrected but not scolded to the point that they will then be fearful of making any decisions at all.

Awareness Of Surroundings
When first driving, many teenagers pay all of their attention to their own vehicle and the spot where they are on the road. Teaching young drivers to be able to confidently drive their vehicle while using their peripheral vision to watch their immediate surroundings and to also pay attention to what is happening further down the road can give them the tools they need to be ready for anything when it happens.

Driving And Alcohol
One of the most serious things that tends to happen to teen drivers is mixing driving and alcohol. Young drivers need to know the ramifications of drinking and driving. They need to have it explained to them that it can lead to a car accident, an injury, or even death to them, their passengers, or occupants of another vehicle. The effects of drinking and driving could stay with them for the rest of their life.

Once the excitement of getting their driver’s license has passed, most kids really do want to be safe drivers. To a teenager, driving represents their freedom and maturity. It doesn’t take long to realize that the better they drive and the more responsibility they show, then the more freedom they will be able to have. The lessons a parent teaches them about driving will go a long way towards keeping them safe not only while they are teenagers, but for the rest of their lives. Giving the gift of safety and responsibility behind the wheel is one of the best things a parent can do for their child.