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It’s no fun to get caught out in the rain, but this is something we often have to face behind the wheel. From deep puddles to limited visibility, all drivers need to know how to handle the risks caused by rain and it’s your job to make sure your teen is prepared.
Cover the basics
The first step is going through the basics. Have your teen get in the driver’s seat and learn how to operate the headlights, windshield wipers and even the defrosting system, as all of these features are important in rainy weather. Explain the importance of using the headlights anytime it is raining, even in broad daylight, and make sure your teen understands how to adjust the wipers to different speeds.
This should all be done before your teen shifts into drive and it’s also a great step for your teen to take each time they get into a new vehicle. You don’t want your teen fumbling for the wiper switch when they really need it, so take the time to practice now and make sure they’re prepared before driving a different vehicle.
Practice somewhere safe
To get the hang of driving in the rain, your teen needs space to practice without any risk of losing control of the vehicle and causing a crash. Find an empty parking lot or similar area nearby that is free of other cars and traffic. Give your teen the chance to speed up, brake, and turn around puddles and slick surfaces. This will help your teen learn how the vehicle responds differently in these conditions and reinforce their need to slow down.
Practicing both during and after rainstorms can give your teen the experience they’ll need to instinctively slow down and turn on their wipers and lights when they get stuck driving in the rain.
Focus on the road
It’s also important to reinforce the risks of distraction, since storms often result in branches, fallen trees and other hazards ending up on the road. Make sure your teen knows to pay special attention and use caution during and after storms. This is a good opportunity to explain that just because there isn’t an official sign saying ‘road closed’ or to slow down, your teen has to be responsible and make smart choices about where and how to drive.
Rainstorms and showers can pop up out of nowhere and your teen needs to be confident in their ability to handle these risks. Our ‘Pointers for Parents’ offer plenty of other tips for driving safely in the rain. Take a look at these lessons and sign up for the entire set to learn more.
DriveitHOME™ is an initiative of the National Safety Council, designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. DriveitHOME™ offers free resources parents can use to help their teen build experience to become safer drivers.
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