The non-profit National Safety Council has published an excellent tip sheet to help parents prepare teen drivers for the special challenges that come with winter.
Oregon car accidents can happen any time of the year, of course, but winter is different. As the website notes: “Winter conditions can challenge even the most experienced drivers. It is incumbent upon a parent to prepare a teen as best as possible for driving under those difficult circumstances that adverse weather brings.”
Many of these recommendations are so basic that one might overlook them, but they bear repeating: slow down, factor in more travel time to get from point A to point B so you don’t unconsciously feel a need to rush; gently test a moving car’s brakes when ice and snow are present to get a sense of road conditions; don’t use high beams when it is snowing. Don’t use the cruise control in the snow either. Keep a greater distance between vehicles than one does in easier driving conditions.
Some of the other recommendations are good, common sense, strategies for drivers of any age: “Pack a small first aid kit and keep it in the trunk in case the car becomes stuck,” for example. “The kit should include a flare, flashlight, blanket and a few energy bars,” the Council notes. It also recommends double-checking the contents of one’s tool kit and carrying a bag of sand or cat litter to help with traction on slippery surfaces.
At a more basic level the council suggests that parents limit teens’ winter driving to daylight hours. This is, perhaps, the most important recommendation of the lot and while it may not always be possible to enforce it might be the one with the greatest potential to cut down on accidents. As a Portland car accident lawyer with a special focus on injuries to children I recommend the Council’s full list to every parent – and every teen – as the weather turns colder and the holiday season approaches.
National Safety Council: How to prepare your teen for safe winter driving