How to keep teens safe on the roads

big milestone in every teen’s life is when they finally get their driver’s licence. It’s a huge step toward gaining independence, but this can be a nerve-wracking time for parents, especially with Canadian winter weather.

“As a father, I know that when kids head out on the road, they’ll face some unpredictable and, in some cases, life-threatening conditions this winter,” says Carl Nadeau, Michelin driving expert. “It’s important that our kids are as well-equipped as possible to prepare for and safely navigate the winter driving season.”

Parents need to take the time to talk with their kids about the dangers of driving, and always reinforce ways to stay safe on the road.

1. Seat belts:
Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways to stay safe in a vehicle, and seat belts worn correctly can drastically reduce the chances of serious injury. Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time you’re in the car, your teen is more likely to follow suit.

2. Cell phone use:
Cell phones are one of the most common distractions for drivers. The teen age group has the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use. Remind your teen about the dangers of texting or dialing while driving, and stress that the phone is off-limits when they are on the road.

3. Speeding:
Speed is a contributing factor in the majority of car crashes. Drive the speed limit and require your teen to do the same. Explain that when speed doubles, the braking distance is four times longer.

4. Visibility:
Visibility is crucial when driving in the winter. Explain to teens that they should give themselves extra time to properly scrape ice and snow from every window and from exterior rear view mirrors. It’s also important to brush snow off the hood, roof, trunk, turn signals, lights and fender walls to ensure a safe drive.

5. Tire safety:
It is essential to emphasize the importance of driving with high-quality and seasonally appropriate tires.           

Photo: © Minerva Studio