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Practice in Other Conditions

Drivers Icon Teaching Your Teen to Drive

For new drivers, it can be challenging to drive in new and unfamiliar conditions, such as inclement weather, different times of day, and varying traffic volume. It’s best that you provide guidance before they experience these conditions on their own.

Night driving

A driver’s reaction depends on their vision, which is limited at night, making it difficult to make judgments and see pedestrians, bicyclists, and other obstacles. Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Glare from headlights makes it difficult to see. Looking toward the right side of the road and flipping the rearview mirror can help to reduce glare.
  • Headlights should be turned on before the sun goes down to increase visibility.
  • High beams should only be used when other drivers won’t see them, such as on roads with little traffic.
  • To compensate for reduced visibility, drive more slowly and at a greater following distance.

Wet/slippery roads

Coach your teen to practice the following:

  • Turn on the wipers as soon as the windshield becomes wet.
  • Turn on the low-beam headlights; this helps others see you.
  • Drive 5 to 10 mph slower than normal and increase your following distance to 5 or 6 seconds.
  • Be more cautious, and slow down on curves and when approaching intersections.
  • Turn the defroster on to keep windows from fogging over.

Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning occurs as a result of water on the road that is deeper than the tire tread. This reduces friction and can result in the loss of control. If you can see deep water, reflections on the pavement, or the car ahead leaves no tracks on the water, these are indications your car could hydroplane. Slow down.

Fog

Use low-beam lights or fog lights if your vehicle has them. Don’t use high beams – they reflect off the fog causing reduced visibility. Slow down until your speed matches your ability to see, even if it means slowing to a crawl.

Snow

Make sure your vehicle is clear of snow and ice before driving. Driving can cause snow/ice to slide and block your view, or fly off and strike other vehicles.

  • When starting to drive in snow, keep the wheels straight ahead and accelerate gently to avoid spinning the tires.
  • Decrease your speed to make up for a loss of traction. Accelerate and decelerate gently, and be extra careful when braking.
  • Stopping distances can be 10 times greater in ice and snow. Begin the slowing-down process long before a stop. Brake only when traveling in a straight line.
  • Look ahead for dangerous spots, such as shaded areas and bridge surfaces that may be icy when the rest of the road is clear.
  • Stay far behind the vehicle ahead so you will not need to come to a sudden stop, which can cause skidding.

Staying alert

Staying alert means focusing on the road and not driving when fatigued. Review signs of Drowsy Driving, such as difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or drifting from lane. Remind your teen to take a break after driving for 2 hours, or after 100 miles. Teens should avoid driving at times they would normally be sleeping.