Winter Tips for Young Drivers

Young teen cleaning off his vehicle

The winter break from school is a good time to have a discussion with your teen driver about how to safely drive during the winter. For many teens, this may be their first winter as drivers. Take some time to review the following safety tips and checklist on preparing your vehicle for winter emergencies.

Winter driving tips

Here are some basic tips to share with your teen driving (and are good reminders for you as well):

  • Give yourself extra time for travel.
  • Clear your vehicle of snow/ice before driving.
  • Take it slow in the snow, slush and ice.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding and sliding.
  • Give plenty of room to plow trucks, snow removal crews and other vehicles.
  • Keep an eye out for stopped emergency vehicles, and move into other lanes, if possible.

Winter vehicle safety checks

Before you get on the road be sure to check that your:

  • Tires have good tread. Tires with worn treads do not work as well as newer tires.
  • Tires are inflated properly. In the cold weather, tires may not grip the road or stop effectively if not properly inflated.
  • Windshield wipers are working and fluid is topped off.
  • Battery is in working order.
  • Lights are in working order, including blinkers, high beams and hazard lights
  • Defrost/defog system is in working order

Emergency kit preparations - what to keep in your vehicle

Personal safety:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Flashlight
  • Blankets
  • Extra hats/gloves
  • Hand warmers
  • Cell phone charger
  • First aid kit

Vehicle tools:

  • Shovel
  • Sand/kitty litter
  • Heavy duty floor mats
  • Ice scraper/brush
  • Jumper cables

For more information about teen driving and vehicle safety, please visit

Chris Bishop is the New Hampshire teen driver program coordinator for the Injury Prevention Center at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.