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In many parts of the country, inexperienced teen drivers are getting their first taste of waking up and driving on a cold winter morning. We have already touched on driver dangers during the winter, such as following too close or using your phone, but don’t forget to talk to your teen about keeping the vehicle safe, as well.
Before driving off in the winter, your teen must clear his or her vehicle of snow and ice. This includes the windshield, other windows, outside mirrors, headlights and brake lights, and any buildup of ice or snow near the tires. A good snow brush/ice scraper will come in handy here, as will gloves to keep your teen’s fingers warm.
If your teen has not yet obtained a license, having him or her handle the duties of prepping the car in the winter can be a good learning experience. Just be sure your young driver clears the snow from everywhere, not just a portion of the windshield, so he or she has total vision around the vehicle.
It’s also common advice to warm up your car on a cold morning, but experts now say that most cars only need a minute or so to get the engine warm. However, your teen should take the time each morning to make sure the windshield is clear of fog. The easiest way to do so is to set the vehicle to pull outside air in, not recirculate the air already inside the vehicle.
Make sure your teen gets plenty of practice driving in winter conditions and emphasize the importance of prepping the car before every winter drive. He or she may not love spending the extra time clearing off snow or waiting for fog to clear, but it will make for a safer trip every time.
Don’t forget to have your teen check and see if the car offers heated seats. They’ll make cold mornings much more bearable!
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.