As winter approaches teen drivers are the most inexperienced on the road. Weather conditions can affect anyone but it is proven that teens, having less overall driving experience, can be a bit less predictable in weather conditions.
Put down the cell phone: Cell phones cause a high amount of accidents per year, that number increases with teens using cell phones. Do not use your cell phone while driving in bad weather. If you need to make an emergency call, pull off the road in a parking lot or other safe area to make your phone call. Pulling off onto the side of the road can be dangerous. Cars that might lose control may slide into your car parked on the side of the road. Only use this for a pull of area in the case of an emergency, otherwise find a more protected area for you to pull off. If you don’t have a cell phone this would be a good time to discuss with your parents a cell phone for ‘in case of emergency only’ type calls. A low minute cell phone to keep in the car and be able to use when needed. Always keep your cell phone charged when driving in bad weather so it’s usable when you need it to be.
Keep extra clothing in your car: In case you’re in a minor accident or slide off the road, you might need to dig yourself out of a ditch to return to driving. If you’re out in the snow and have no warm clothes to put back on once you’re in your vehicle you risk getting sick from the elements or worse something like frostbite. Make sure you have an extra warm outfit in your car in case you need it! It will also come in handy if you do get stranded and have to wait for help.
Talk to you parents about towing services: A lot of times, your insurance company will carry certain road side emergency services. Talk to you parents and ask them what services are available to you and who to call when you need them. Have the numbers listed somewhere or programmed into your cell phone as an obvious name so you know how to find them.
Keep an ICE card with you: An ICE card stands for “In Case of Emergency”. Every teen should have one. You can make up a very simple one to keep in your wallet or use your cell phone. Before the contact name put “ICE” (so your contacts will read: ICE-MOM; ICE-HOME; ICE-MOM WORK). This will ensure that if you are in a minor accident your parents can be reached when they need to know what’s going on.
Eliminate distractions: With bad weather conditions you have so much more to be concerned about other than just what’s going on inside the car. Turn the radio down, travel with less people in the car. It is much easier to have an accident in bad weather so do all that you can to be the safest driver on the road. If you are not comfortable driving in bad conditions, don’t. Ask your parents to drive you, I’m sure they’ll be willing.
Know how to react in situations: I bet on average people don’t know how to react to how your car will respond to bad weather. Talk to an experienced driver that you trust (NO, not one of your teen friends…) and get their advice on how to respond in the chance your car starts to act differently in weather. If you are prepared to handle slight weather conditions you will be a more confident driver and eliminate your chances for an accident. Be a safe proactive driver!