Depending on the time of year that your teenage driver gets their license, they may or may not have had an opportunity to get to practice good winter driving habits. But regardless of whether or not they got that much needed cold weather driving practice, you can be certain that winter is coming.
Winter driving conditions like snow, poor visibility, freezing rain, black ice, and to be frank, other drivers, all put your teenage driver at an increased risk for an accident. In today’s blog from Pacific Driver Education, we will examine a couple of the rules that your teen can use to help them prepare for winter driving so they can be as safe as possible. That being said, the professional driving instructors here at Pacific Driver Education in Gresham feel that these are great tips for everyone.
To learn more about our driving lessons for teens, adults, or fleet drivers, visit our service page online. You can also call or fill out our online form to request a call or email to get more information about our driving school.
Maintain Your Car
Winter driving conditions are tough for any car, but for a car that isn’t being properly maintained and taken care of, they can be even more dangerous. In order to make sure that you make it from point A to point B during your winter weather commutes, make sure to do the following:
- Keep Your Windshield Clean — When winter driving conditions are present, such as in the case of a blizzard, seeing the road through your windshield is already hard enough. In order to increase your ability to know where lanes, cars, and obstacles are around you, make sure to keep your windows clean.
- Wash Your Headlights and Taillights — Like your windows, headlights and taillights on your car can become filthy, limiting their effectiveness in winter driving conditions. Between the dirt in the snow, the chemicals on the road, and the salt, sand, or ash (depending on where you live) that is used to increase traction and melt snow, your lights can be reduced in effectiveness quite a bit.
- Keep Your Tires Fully Inflated — Your tires are the only part of your car that actually makes contact with the road, meaning that they are the single most important safety factor in winter driving. Keeping your tires fully inflated will allow your tread to do its job as best it can, giving you better traction and more control.
Reduce Your Speed
One of the biggest reasons that people get into trouble while driving in the winter is that they don’t account for their car reacting differently than it would on a dry road. If they did, they would change the way they drove. One thing you can do to help stay safe during winter driving conditions is to reduce your speed by 25-50% depending on just how bad things are. This means that your car has less inertia and will stop over a shorter difference whether you have traction or not.
Increase Your Distance
Reducing your speed is a great way to control your own ability to handle a skid or slide on an icy road, but you can’t change how the people around you are going to drive. By giving yourself a greater distance between yourself and the car ahead of you, you can give yourself more reaction time and braking time, increasing your ability to see, react to, and avoid an accident during spells of bad weather.
In general, you want to avoid driving in bad weather conditions whenever possible. However, sometimes you have to get to work, school, or some other important appointment that you can’t cancel. In times like these, plan ahead. Make sure you know what route you are taking, what road conditions are like, and build in extra driving time so you can give yourself more distance and reduce your speed without making yourself late.
Additionally, always make sure that you have at least a half of a tank of gas (or more depending on how far you have to drive). Frequent stops, delays, or detours are common during bad weather over the winter months. Make sure you don’t get stranded because you weren’t prepared, and expect the unexpected.
Consider an Emergency Kit
Sometimes a road closure, detour, or accident can slow you down a lot more than you were expecting. When they do, it’s always nice to have an emergency kit with some snacks, water, and extra warm clothing. A few other emergency items, like cat litter or rugs for when you get stuck in the snow, can also turn out to be quite handy to have along. Not to mention, they can provide you and your parents with a little bit of peace of mind.
Enroll with Pacific Driver Education for Teen Driving Lessons
No matter what kind of conditions you are driving in, having more experience, practice, and instruction behind the wheel is always going to help you improve your ability to keep yourself and others safe while you are on the road. At Pacific Driver Education in Gresham, we offer driving lessons for teens, adults, and fleet drivers that promote good driving habits, offer practice behind the wheel of an actual car and teach the importance of following traffic laws and driving safely. To help you face the treacherous roads during winter driving conditions, sign up with us today.