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It’s Winter Break, Do You Know Where Your Teen Driver Is?

It’s Winter Break, Do You Know Where Your Teen Driver Is?

Stay involved and aware of your teen's driving habits.

It’s winter break time, when your teen is out of school and back home with plenty of free time to spend with friends and loved ones. And though you might worry about your teen getting hurt on the ski slopes, their car poses a much bigger risk.

That’s why it’s so important for parents to stay involved and aware of their teen’s driving habits. In fact, it’s a perfect time to spend a few minutes with your teen reviewing your New Driver Deal together.

Remember, your New Driver Deal is a living document, a collection of rules and restrictions you and your teen both agree on, with room for your teen to earn new driving privileges as they gain experience. And some of the most important rules are particularly crucial during the winter season. Remind your teen to:

  • Always tell a parent or guardian where they are going and when they expect to return. With the potential for winter storms, your teen should have a plan for each trip, including what the weather will be like while they are on the roads.
  • Never drive other passengers besides parents or guardians. Your teen may be excited to drive or ride with their friends over winter break, but passengers – especially other teens – are too great a risk.
  • Only drive by themselves during agreed-upon hours of the day. During the winter months, the days are shorter and teens have a higher crash risk than other drivers at night.
  • Always wear a seat belt. Repeat this often so it becomes a habit for your teen. Buckling up doubles your odds of surviving a fatal crash, so make sure your teen buckles up in every seat on every ride.

In addition to reviewing these rules with your teen, reinforce your commitment to staying involved as they learn to drive. One of the most important parts of your New Driver Deal is the parent/guardian’s section, and if you expect your teen to stick to their rules you have to be accountable for yours.

Make time to ride with your teen during the winter, even if they’ve already gotten a license. You want their first time driving in snow to be with you there as their coach guiding them, not your teen all alone trying to figure it out.

With all of the added risks in the winter, parents should also make themselves more available to drive their teens around. Even if there’s not a storm on the way but if the roads are extra snowy or icy, it’s better for you to drive rather than your teen. Teens simply don’t have the experience needed to safely manage roads in winter conditions. It may be inconvenient, but the extra time you’ll spend shuttling your teen across town is worth making sure they always get home safe.

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