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7 of the Best Tips for Driving in Snow New Drivers Need to Stay Safe
3 min read
Even the most experienced drivers can get nervous driving in snow—that's why it's crucial to prepare your teen before winter hits.
Is your teen about to experience his or her first winter as a new driver? You may be understandably nervous. Driving in snow and ice is challenging even for the most experienced drivers. In addition to slippery roads, visibility is usually limited, and there are additional hazards, such as stranded vehicles and large snowplows.
Don't let this scare you, though. With new drivers, a little winter driving preparation can go a long way. Share the following tips with your teen driver before the first flakes fall this year and be sure they're ready to hit the (snowy) road—safely.
What New Drivers Need to Know
About Driving in the Snow
1. Slow down.
Reducing speed may seem like a no-brainer, but some new drivers think that they'll be fine as long as they're going the speed limit. Every driving maneuver takes longer in the snow, so take your time and fight the instinct to get home as quickly as possible.
2. Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive don't make you invincible.
Yes, 4WD and AWD vehicles tend to perform better in winter driving conditions, but don't let that give your teen drivers a false sense of security. Relying too much on the technology can backfire and won't always give you as much traction you need to brake.
3. Keep a longer following distance.
Normal following distance for dry pavement is 3 to 4 seconds, but in the snow and ice, AAA says you should increase that to 8 to 10 seconds.
4. Manual transmissions can come in handy.
While manual transmissions aren't as plentiful as they once were, many teens drive older stick-shift models because they're usually cheaper. Luckily, vehicles with manual transmissions are known for handling a little better in bad weather. Instead of starting in first gear, tell your teen to start in second gear when it's snowing. Second gear will make the wheels go a little slower—but with more power behind them—so they have less chance of spinning out.
5. Certain surfaces freeze first.
Your teen should know that when temperatures drop and things get slick outside, bridges and overpasses freeze before roads do. Take extra care when driving on these surfaces.
6. Follow the tracks.
It can get a little scary driving in snow when the plows can't keep up with the accumulation. Tell your teen that if the road starts to get snowy, drive in the tire tracks of the cars driving in front of them. It will help them keep traction and stay in their lane.
7. When in doubt, don't go out.
Remind your teen that, if at all possible, don't drive in wintry conditions. If they're unsure or nervous, offer to drive with them or pick them up. If the weather forecast looks like things are going to get worse, keep them home.
- AAA: How to Go on Ice and Snow
- Edmunds: Tips for Safe Driving on Snow and Ice
- American Safety Council: Preparing for Winter Driving
- MOTOSafety: Winter Driving Tips for Teens
- TeensHealth: Dealing With the Elements
Determining the Right Auto Insurance
to Protect Your New Driver
Snow or not, teens make mistakes when they drive. You can't ride along in the passenger seat forever, but you can make sure your child and the car they're driving are adequately protected.
Different parts of your auto insurance policy will cover different types of accidents. For example, if your son or daughter slides on ice and their vehicle causes damage to another car, their liability insurance should help pay for the other driver's damages; collision should help pay for their costs. If someone else hits your child's car while they're driving in snow and they're injured, personal injury protection is invaluable.
You could also choose coverage enhancements to personalize your teen's auto policy. There are enhancements like roadside rescue (available to help 24/7), rental reimbursement, and young adult protection plus.
With so many options available to protect your new driver, it's essential to work with an experienced agent to get the best rates, customized deductibles, and coverage that matches your needs. Your local Pekin Insurance agent will ensure you walk away with auto insurance coverage for your teen that will offer the protection you need at a price you can afford.
Schedule an insurance check-up with your local Pekin Insurance agent today. They'll recommend any adjustments that may be necessary to protect your teen this winter.