Practice in Other Conditions
Limited visibility at night makes it difficult to make judgments and see pedestrians, bicyclists, and other obstacles. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Glare from oncoming headlights makes it difficult to see. Looking toward the right side of the road and flipping the rearview mirror can help to reduce headlight glare.
- Headlights should be turned on before the sun goes down to make the car more visible.
- High beams should only be used when other drivers won’t see them, such as on isolated roadways with little traffic.
- To compensate for reduced visibility, drive more slowly and at a greater following distance.
To reduce risk on wet and 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 five or six seconds.
- Be more cautious and slow down on curves and when approaching intersections.
- Turn the defroster on to keep windows from fogging over.
If you must make adjustments while driving, make sure the road ahead is clear before looking down at the dashboard — and look away for only a second or two.
Hydroplaning occurs as a result of water on the road that is deeper than the tire tread. This layer of water reduces friction with the tires and can result in the loss of control. If you can see deep water on the road, reflections on the pavement, or if the car ahead leaves no tracks on the water, your car could hydroplane. Slow down.
Use low-beam lights or fog lights if your vehicle has them. Don’t use high beams — they reflect off the fog, causing glare and reduced visibility. Slow down until your speed matches your ability to see, even if it means slowing to a crawl. If needed, get off the road and find a safe place to park.
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. Other tips to keep in mind:
- Remind your teen that when the temperature drops, rain may turn to ice on the road’s surface. Often this ice is hardly visible. Because air circulates both below and above bridges and overpasses, moisture on the surface of them is likely to freeze quickly. Trees and buildings may shelter parts of the road and prevent the sun from drying the surface. Look ahead for these danger spots.
- 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 anticipating a stop at an intersection or turn. Brake only when traveling in a straight line.
- Stay far behind the vehicle ahead so you will not need to come to a sudden stop, which can cause skidding.