As usually happens this time of year in Wisconsin, the snow has arrived and more is on its way. The forecast of snow is a good opportunity to remind your teen driver about safe winter driving habits. Here are some starters:
- Check the current road conditions before you leave.
- Review how to operate the wipers, headlights, and defroster.
- Before driving, clear snow and ice from all windows, the headlights, tail lights, and mirrors too.
- Drive slowly and give plenty of time to slow down, come to a stop, change lanes, or turn.
- Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do.
- Be aware that it may be more slippery on bridges and freeway ramps or from drifting snow.
- Don’t use the cruise control. Tapping the break to turn it off can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Braking correctly in snowy conditions is different. It takes more time and distance to stop in slippery conditions, and larger vehicles need more stopping distance than smaller ones. Vehicles with 4-wheel drive may have better traction getting started but still need a longer distance to stop. If your car has anti-lock brakes do not pump the brakes to stop; instead keep braking steadily and steer out of the situation.
The DOT website has more information about driving in winter weather conditions: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/motorist/winterdriving/driving-tips.htm. For more information about keeping your teen driver safe, go to www.bluekids.org. To read more about motor vehicle safety, click here and remember to drive safely!
-Deena Liska, motor vehicle safety educator, Children’s Health Education Center