Winter safe driving for teens

Parent and teen driving agreements for the questionable weather this winter season.

Winter storms and winter driving combine for potentially dangerous and deadly outcomes. According to Michigan State University Extension, teens and inexperienced drivers are especially vulnerable to accidents and slide-offs. Winter tips are helpful to keep your driver safe ensures that your vehicle is winter ready. These tips range from making sure your tires, battery, and windshield wiper fluids are checked and filled. Also, pack a winter survival kit including a small shovel, kitty litter for an abrasive, blankets, jumper cables and a flashlight.

Preparing the car is just one part of winter readiness! Preparing the teen driver is most important piece.

Checkpoints is designed to increase communication between teens and their parents regarding driving. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Checkpoints provides resources for teens, parents and educators. It also provides YouTube videos and examples of parent- teen driving agreements. Parents are encouraged to start the conversation early—set the standard—get the parent-teen driving agreement in writing and spell out the rules for the teen driver.

A teenager sees a driver’ license as a step toward freedom, but you might not be sure your teen is ready for the road. One thing is certain, teens aren’t ready to have the same level of driving responsibility as older adults. Teen drivers have more fatal crashes, mainly because of their immaturity and lack of experience. They speed, make mistakes and get distracted easily, especially if their friends are in the car. To help your teen stay safe behind the wheel, 46 States, including Michigan and the District of Columbia now have graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs that limit high-risk driving situations for new drivers. These programs can reduce your teen’s crash risk by as much as 50 percent. The 5 to Drive is an emphasis for parents and teens to agree to no cell phones, no extra passengers, no speeding, no alcohol and always buckling-up. When developing a parent-teen driving agreement address 5 to Drive.

Start early with creating awareness and educating young adults. Seatbelt safety is a free MSU Extension curriculum, available online, which can be used as a tool to feature automobile safety!

If you are interested in learning more about MSU Extension or Michigan 4-H Youth Programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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