ROXBURY, NJ - We are again about to be walloped by a snowstorm. These words, first written at the beginning of winter, need to be reiterated:
Many parents with a new driver at home will see the storm approaching and instinctively decide to not allow their kids to get behind the wheel until the snow's been cleared.
They might want to rethink that.
When it snows, it's the perfect opportunity for parents to take the newest driver in their household to a safe open area, free of light posts and parked cars, and let them experience what it’s like to drive on snow.
No parent wants to get a call that their child slid into another vehicle or is stuck in a snowbank. But if Johnny has never driven on snow and one day finds himself trying to drive home from basketball practice after a few inches have fallen, he may panic when the ABS brakes kick in as he starts to slide.
I suggest recreating those slick road conditions in a safe parking lot. Let the new driver take some hard turns and then regain control of the vehicle.
I also recommend braking in various situations, such as during a turn, or just while driving straight to feel what brakes will do to steady the car.
Many families own SUVs and it’s also important to use this instructional time to show your son or daughter the proper way to engage the 4-wheel-drive. Just make sure they know to disengage the 4-wheel-drive when they hit dry pavement, otherwise they can damage the front axles or the differential case.
The most important thing you can do to guide your young driver is stress that snowy conditions mean one thing - slow down. The number one mistake I see young drivers make is driving too fast for the road conditions. Stress to your child that slowing down is the only way to safely navigate slick roads.
As the snow approaches, dust off the snow-blower, have the snow shovels at the ready and stock up on milk, bread and eggs.
But, if at all possible, find some time with that new driver to build up his or her confidence behind the wheel after a snowstorm. Then you won’t mind so much when it snows and it snows and it snows.
Knight’s Automotive Repair, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, is located at 171 East Main Street in Ledgewood. Give us a call at 973-927-0114 if you need any further advice about winter driving tips.