The Fall Colors have been beautiful the last few weeks. Then all of the sudden I have a carpet of leaves on my front lawn, sidewalk and porch. The leaves always seem to fall the week after our township scheduled our leaf pick up, but they will be back again in a couple weeks and our township does a great job picking up the leaves.
Driving down the street last weekend with the wet leaves covering the road reminded me that the leaves soon will be replaced with ice and snow. This is the time to start thinking of ways to take the opportunity to teach your teen drivers how to drive safely in bad road conditions.
Parents should not avoid taking their children out during bad weather to teach them how to handle these conditions. It is probably one of the most difficult lessons to administer. The reason is that parents feel very uncomfortable putting their children behind the wheel in these conditions. This is only natural as your instinct wants to protect your children.
However, eventually they will be driving in these conditions whether it is heavy rain, wet leaves, snow or ice. It is better to prepare them for these conditions with a few lessons.
The tough part of this training is that it has to be done on a moments notice. Depending on when your teen receives their permit you may not see snow or ice for a year or more. So as soon as the opportunity presents itself jump on it. It will be a valuable lesson for your teen.
When starting this lesson go back and remember the first lesson you gave your teen. It was probably in some remote area like a empty parking lot. That is a great place to start this training. Even though your teen may have been driving for a while they have not experience the effects of ice and snow on the car.
Take them out into that empty parking lot where you have some room to maneuver. Have them brake on the snow and ice. Show them it takes more time to stop when sliding on ice and snow. Explain to them the importance of putting more distance between their car and the car in front of them when it rains, snows or is icy on the roads. Keep practicing braking, turning and steering through the snow and ice. Discuss what black ice is.
Take time to go over safety checks with your teen. Show them how to properly clear their car of snow and ice. Make sure they remove all the snow from their car and not just the snow on the windshield. Remember last winter Pennsylvania passed a law making it clear that you need to remove the snow from your entire vehicle. “Snow or ice can cause injury or death to another person,” state officials said. If you do not follow the law by removing snow from the tops of your car the fines could range from $200 to $1,000. How many times have you been behind a car or truck and snow blew off the top of their truck or car and landed right on your windshield blinding you temporarily
Show your teen how to get leaves and snow out of the area surrounding your windshield wipers. Have them make sure the wipers are free of snow and ice and that the windshield washer fluid tubes are not blocked by ice and snow. Make sure the windshield washer fluid is full and that you have a backup container in the trunk of the car. .
Another tip is to put together a winter safety kit for each of your cars. Use a small plastic container and fill it with the following items: blanket, spare gloves and hat, small shovel, emergency flasher and flashlight, sand or cat liter, and windshield washer fluid. Make sure you car also has an ice scraper and a brush to remove snow from the top of your car.
Remember your teen’s inexperience and poor decisions are only compounded when they drive in bad weather conditions. Take the time to practice how to drive in these conditions. It is valuable time spent making your teen a safer driver.
For more tips on teen driving safety visit: www.teendriverinsurance.com/spencer.