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How to teach your teen to drive more safely in the winter

We're currently barely halfway through the winter, yet we've already seen record breaking temperatures, significant snowfall and deadly pileups on Chicago's icy roadways this season.

While the majority of local adults have likely spent many winters driving in inclement weather, it's important to remember that your teenage children have not. Ypur teens can benefit from learning safe driving tips before getting behind the wheel.

Perhaps the best way you can prepare your teenage driver for whatever weather may come their way is to make a point of taking them on snowy or potentially icy back roads to practice driving.

One reason you may want to do this is because practical experience is important to safe driving. If your child took driver's education classes at school or through a private company, then he or she likely learned to drive when the weather was relatively clear outside.

Hitting the road during inclement weather first under your supervision and direction as opposed to going at it alone may be helpful in letting your child really grow comfortable about how to handle potentially dangerous situations.

Reducing speed is a perfect example. New drivers may not have a firm grasp of what black ice is. They may look outside as they're preparing to head off to school one morning and notice that it's no longer snowing and that the roads look fairly clear.

When they get in the car, they may be under the false impression that they can drive at the same rate of speed en route to school that morning as they do any other. If they did this, then hitting a patch of black ice at a high rate of speed could prove to be disastrous.

Teaching your child about how cars operate differently in winter weather, specifically in terms of acceleration, steering and braking is also important.

Emphasizing to your teen that it's okay to pull over and wait out a downpour of freezing rain or blizzard-like snowfalls is also important. Letting them know the importance of always having food, blankets and a phone charger with them in case they have to pull over is also a good idea.

Educating your teen reduces the risk of his or her involvement in a crash. If you've been injured in a car crash due to someone's reckless driving on icy roads, then a Chicago motor vehicle accidents attorney can advise you of your right to file an injury claim in your case.

Source: Family Circle, "Winter Driving Tips for Teens," Jessie Van Amburg, accessed Feb. 09, 2018

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