December 21, 2014
Our View

Talk to new drivers about winter now

Posted 11/29/11

Although the days after Thanksgiving were unseasonably warm, there is no denying that winter conditions are right around the corner.

And for teen drivers, dealing with icy and snowy roads is challenging and dangerous. Parents or guardians should start preparing their teenage children for the difficult conditions now.

Make sure teen drivers are informed about winter driving issues. Alert them that they need to slow down on the roadways and be even more aware of other drivers around them, because even experienced drivers can slide through icy intersections or lose control of their vehicles on a patch of black ice.

Preparing for winter driving goes beyond instructing young people to slow down behind the wheel and leave earlier than normal. A teen’s car should have maintenance done on it prior to the first snow. Make sure your teenager’s automobile has windshield wipers that are working properly, and that the windshield washer fluid is full, as salt used for melting the ice on the roads can accumulate on the windshield and obstruct a driver’s view. Keep the car’s antifreeze level full, and check it often. Tires should also be kept inflated, and if they are starting to get worn, replace them. Cars’ radiators, brake fluid levels and brakes should also be maintained and serviced prior to the first snow.

Do not forget to warn teenagers driving this winter about respecting plow trucks, either. The Michigan Department of Transportation has warned drivers for several years not to crowd the plow. Be sure your teenage driver understands how to safely maneuver around these large trucks.

While accidents happen, and no one can guarantee safety on the roadways in the winter, taking time to work and talk with new drivers can go a long way in making teenage rivers safer in winter.

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