January is known as a great many things, but the one that stands out to me most is Teen Driving Month. It’s the perfect time to educate our teens about how to be winter ready. With two teenage daughters who are on the brink of starting Driver’s Education at school and obtaining their permits to drive, I’ve got to make sure that they are prepared for the road ahead (pun intended).
For them, driving on the road is exciting. It’s an adventure. It’s fun. For me, the parent, when I think of them driving, I think of all of the obstacles: the aggressive drivers, the careless drivers, the weather and the road conditions. Even though I know they’ll be taught the basics at school, it’s important to me that they know how to be winter ready too!
When I think of Teen Driving Month: Winter Ready, I’m considering all of the angles. Yes, it is important that you ensure that your teen knows what to do if they start to slip and slide. Those are driving techniques and they should be taught to them. But there are other ways your teen can be prepared.
- Clean your car off completely. Don’t just clear the windows. You want to remove all the snow from your car to avoid any distractions or low visibility.
- Dress warmly. Sounds pretty standard, but in the event that you have to pull over and check the car, you want to make sure you’re dressed appropriately for cold weather. Layers are important: sweaters, pants, socks, boots, coat, hat, gloves, scarf. You get the picture.
- Charge your phone. In the event of an emergency or mini disaster, you’ll want to have your phone charged so you can call for help. Remember though, do not text and drive. If you must respond, pull over and make a call. You want your eyes focused on the road.
- Have an emergency car kit. Every car should have one in their trunk. These usually include a multitude of things to use in the event of an emergency like blankets, hats, gloves, water, flashlights, flares, etc.
- Have all the information you need. Remember to have your insurance card, roadside assistance phone number, identification card, and your In Case of Emergency (ICE) phone number listed and programmed into your phone.
- Always make sure you have a full tank of gas. You just never know.
- Drive slowly and wear your seat belt at all times. I know it’s exciting to be on the road, but it’s also very dangerous. Please take precautions by taking your time and being safe.
- Keep your eyes on the road. There should be no texting, looking for things or looking at your neighbor. Try not to get distracted. You’ll want your eyes on the road.
- Keep your distance from other cars. Be prepared to brake at lights and stop signs. Don’t wait until the last minute.
- Keep your eyes on the road at all times. Watch for any obstacles that might be in your path. It’s better to be safe than cool.
- Check your tires before you leave home. During the winter, the tire pressure drops. Tires need to be properly inflated to work properly, especially during winter weather road conditions. Fill it up before you head out if necessary.
- Be well rested. If you’re too tired, you could doze off. Get some sleep. Driving requires you to be on full alert, especially during uncertain weather and road conditions.
- When in doubt, stay at home. If you’re tired, unsure or uneasy, it’s best you stay put, stay warm, stay dry, and most importantly stay safe.
Teen Driving Month provides a great opportunity for you to speak with your teens about being winter ready. Take them out. Show them what to do and what not to do. Make sure they are provided the gift of knowledge and all of the tools they’ll need in the event of an emergency.
Winter ready is just as important to adults as it is teenagers. What tips do you have to be Winter Ready? We’d love to hear them. Share them in the comment section below.