Drive Every Day Like it’s a Snow Day

No matter the weather, make sure your teen steers toward safety.

January 25, 2019

Driving in good conditions is easy. On a clear day, with enough-but-not-too-much sun, your teen will have good visibility and few issues with traction or braking on the road.

But easy isn’t always better.

While it is safer to drive in good conditions, it also makes it easier for drivers to become distracted, since they may feel they don’t have to pay close attention to the road. When it is raining, dark out or the roads are slick, however, the hope is that drivers are much more focused and aware of their role in staying safe. That’s why it can help to advise your teen to always drive as if the weather is bad. In other words, drive every day like it’s a snow day.

While we don’t advise getting out onto the roads during a heavy snowstorm, there are benefits to driving as if the road conditions are much worse than they actually are. Why? Because most drivers are never more careful than they are when there is snow coming down. Here are a few winter driving practices that your teen can work into their everyday habits:

  • Slow down. On winter roads, it is tough to tell when you might lose traction on a patch of ice or a snowy corner, which is why most drivers go much slower in such conditions. Teens may not always realize how fast they are driving or what the speed limit is on the street, so while you practice, ask them: how fast would you be driving if there was snow coming down? This is a helpful reminder to pay attention to your speed and always drive at a safe pace.
  • Give other drivers space. When there’s snow or ice on the road, drivers tend to leave more room between themselves and the next car in case it takes them longer to come to a stop on these slick surfaces. As you practice with your teen on busy roads, point out how close they are following the other vehicles and ask them, if it were snowing, whether or not they’d have time to safely brake. The more they learn to increase their following distance, the more time they’ll have to react and brake for unexpected hazards.
  • Leave early. One of the most unpleasant aspects of winter driving is not knowing the effect snow and ice will have on your commute. Because of possible delays, it is smart to leave early in such conditions so you have time to arrive and aren’t rushed to drive too fast on snowy roads. This is an excellent lesson for every teen driver to learn now and keep with them as they age. Being late makes us impulsive and can lead to unsafe decisions. The more time your teen has to get where they are going, the fewer reasons they’ll have to make hurried, dangerous choices.

Though not everyone in the U.S. has to drive in the snow during the winter months, that doesn’t mean they can’t still have the experience. It may sound silly, but this little bit of imagination could help keep your teen safe.

Partner with NSC

With a century-long legacy, the National Safety Council is a global center for safety expertise. Let's work together to align resources. We look forward to learning about ways we can join efforts to expand safety everywhere!

Shopping Cart

There are no items in your cart