Adapting to new landscapes

Drivers Icon Teaching Your Teen to Drive

Rural driving

When driving in rural or country areas, there are a number of special situations that require attention. Watch for driveways, farm equipment, railroad crossings that might not be marked, and bridges that are narrow or poorly surfaced. Some intersections may be hidden by trees, brush, or crops.

Animals often are found wandering along the roadway. Be alert for deer at dawn and dusk, and especially in the fall and spring (although vehicle-deer crashes can occur at any time). Watch for deer crossing signs. Slow down if you see one deer; they frequently travel in groups and chances are there are others nearby.

Extra care and slower speeds should be used when driving on gravel roads because of the reduced traction. The road surface can be affected by loose gravel, slippery conditions after rain or snow, ruts in the driving lanes, and washboard conditions. When approaching oncoming vehicles, watch for soft shoulders or the absence of shoulders.

Safety around snowplows

Snowplows use distinctive lights to warn you that snow removal operations are underway. When you see these lights, slow down and use caution.

  • Give snowplows room to work: The plows are wide and can cross the center line or shoulder.
  • Do not tailgate and avoid passing, especially on the right: If you must pass, be extremely cautious and beware of the snow cloud.
  • Keep your distance and watch for sudden stops and turns: A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they don’t always see you.

Note: Four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles do not stop faster on ice and snow than two-wheel drive (2WD) vehicles. The heavier the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop, no matter how many drive wheels.

Course of action

After becoming proficient in basic driving skills, teens can become overconfident and begin to drive faster, follow other cars more closely, brake abruptly, etc. Gently and continuously remind your teen to stay three seconds back from other vehicles and always drive with caution.