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Childhood Wellness

The Teen Driver’s Guide to Winter Safety

Winter roads can create problems for even the best drivers and teens are particularly at risk. Parental involvement, however, can help. Here are some tips to get the conversation started:

Be prepared

First, create an emergency kit for the car. This should include a snow shovel, an extra cell phone charger, and many more supplies. Visit for a more complete list.

It’s also crucial that your teen clears the vehicle of ice and snow before each drive, regularly checks the tire pressure, and keeps the gas tank at least half-full in cold weather. Share these tips and use your own experiences to make sure your teen is prepared. 

Plan ahead

Before driving in the winter, it is always best to have a plan. Whether it’s across town or a longer trip to a relative’s house, get your teen in the habit of creating and sticking to a safe driving plan. This should include checking the local weather so he or she knows what to expect on the road, and at the final destination, as well as sharing the plan with someone in case something goes wrong.

Most importantly, tell your teen to allow extra time for the drive so he or she doesn’t feel pressured to rush and make dangerous decisions. Snow, ice, and other winter conditions can turn a simple drive into a deadly journey, so teach your teen to always drive slowly, use the lights and wipers to help with visibility, and be courteous to other drivers. A snowstorm is not the time to get aggressive behind the wheel. 

Don’t drive unless it’s necessary

If a winter storm is on the horizon, stock up on supplies early and consider rearranging plans so you and your teen can stay home. If your teen does need to go out, it’s best for you to drive. This isn’t about your teen being a bad driver; it’s just that he or she doesn’t have the experience to stay safe. You can help your teen get this experience once the storm passes and it is safer to practice driving in the snow. 

If you have to drive in poor winter conditions, go slow and leave plenty of room between vehicles. The National Safety Council offers many more tips for staying safe on winter roads at Review them with your teen so your whole family is prepared for a safe winter season. 

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