Driving in the Rain and Other Challenging Circumstances

There are many circumstances in which driving is even more challenging than usual. For beginner drivers, these types of difficult driving scenarios can be incredibly intimidating, so when teaching someone to driver, you have to be very patient with your student. Some circumstances that make driving harder are bad weather, night time, and peer pressure.

Driving in the rain and other poor weather conditions can be difficult in a number of ways. Skidding in significantly more likely when the weather is poor, so in such conditions, drivers should be mindful of the road conditions and take precautions accordingly. Slowing down, especially around curves, braking lightly, and remaining calm are common ways to maintain control in bad weather. If a skid starts, you should start by easing off the gas, and steering in the direction that you want the car to go. You shouldn’t brake in a car without anti-lock brake systems (ABS), because you run the risk of locking the car’s brakes and losing complete control. Hydroplaning is another kind of skidding, which occurs when your car slips on a thin layer of water between your tires and the road. When you lose contact with the road’s surface, you can wind up skidding off the road entirely. Having fully inflated tires with good treads is one way to avoid hydroplaning. Another is to slow down when the road is wet, and avoid driving through puddles. When driving, check for tracks left by the cars ahead of you, and try to keep your tires in those tracks. If you begin to hydroplane, do NOT brake or turn quickly; instead, slowly release the gas so that the car slows down, and when you can feel the road again, begin to gently pump the brake if you don’t have ABS, or just break steadily, and your car’s computer will pump when necessary. Remind your teen drivers of these techniques so that they’re adequately prepared for poor road conditions!

Nighttime is another instance that makes driving more difficult. Even though teens only drive 15% of their total miles at night, 40% of fatal crashes that involve teens happen at that time. Once your teen shows his/her comfort with driving during the daytime, it’s important to practice driving at night. Constantly checking and re-checking your surroundings is important at night, because visibility is less at this time and it may be harder to see something when it first appears. It’s also incredibly important never to look directly into another car’s headlights, as the brightness of the lights will impede your vision. When driving on any road with oncoming traffic in sight, looking to the white line at the edge of the road is a good way to keep your car straight and avoid being blinded by the brightness of the oncoming lights.

Peer pressure is a condition that teens are more susceptible to than any other drivers. It’s hard to make decisions that challenge what everyone else thinks is “cool” when you’re a teenager, because acceptance is a virtue to most people at that age. It’s important to discuss different difficult situations that may arise with your teen, and help them to practice their responses to such instances to prepare them to make the right decisions. If they’re faced with a scenario in which their friends are trying to get them to make a poor choice, tell them to use you as a scapegoat—you’re not worried about your kid’s friends thinking you’re uncool. Being told to speed when late, or being asked to drive after drinking are both likely scenarios that you teen may encounter as a new driver, so they should prepare themselves to handle the situations before they ever arise in the first place. “My parents won’t let me do that,” or “I’ll lose my driving privileges if they find out” are much more acceptable responses to other teens than, “No, I don’t want to,” so urge your teen to use you as their easy way out.

This concludes our series on Tips and Facts for Teen Drivers, we hope we were able to provide you with some valuable information to help you when you teach your teens to drive!

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