Practice in Other Conditions
For new drivers, it can be challenging to drive in new and unfamiliar conditions such as in inclement weather, at different times of day, and with varying traffic volume. It’s best that you provide guidance before they experience these conditions on their own.
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 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 roads 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 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.
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.
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 if the car ahead leaves no tracks on the water, these are indications 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 reduced visibility. Slow down until your speed matches your ability to see, even if it means slowing to a crawl.
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:
- When starting to drive in snow, keep the wheels straight 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. Never tailgate in the snow!
- 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 danger spots, such as shaded areas and bridge surfaces that may be icy when the rest of the road is clear.