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Young drivers need winter practice

(NC)—One of the more nerve-wrecking experiences of parenthood occurs when your teenager first earns his or her license to drive. While many parts of Canada have ensured that new drivers be accompanied with a more experienced driver in the vehicle, it's important that parents take some time to share safety tips with their teenagers.

Learning to drive is challenging enough. When you throw snow, ice and slush into the driving mix, it can catch new drivers off guard. Therefore, passing along winter driving wisdom to your teens is especially crucial.

"Since you probably own the car your teenager is driving, you should ensure that it is prepared for winter-weather," says Tony Mougios, Michelin Brand Manager in Canada. "Part of that preparation involves installing four winter tires on the vehicle. Winter tires will enhance the safety and performance of your vehicle and allow whoever is driving to maintain greater control in winter conditions."

For those parents whose teens are about to take to the road for the first time this winter, Michelin offers these tips for teaching young drivers to prepare for and cope with winter's challenges.

  • Winter weather puts your vehicle's mechanical systems and performance to the ultimate test, and demands that your vehicle is in excellent condition. Make sure that your tires and all mechanical systems, including your brakes, are in top working order.
  • Take your new driver to a vacant, snow or ice covered parking lot where you can safely practice slow-speed manoeuvres.
  • A novice driver's first on-the-road experience with winter-weather driving should not be during a major blizzard. Ensure he/she waits until conditions are less severe.
  • If possible, have your teenager practice driving on slippery roads in daylight only. Exposure to slippery roads at night should be limited until beginners have gained more experience driving in various types of winter weather.
  • Maintain a safe driving distance from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Make sure the speed limit is observed and respected.
  • Transform the trunk of your vehicle into a winter survival kit by filling it with essential emergency equipment including a flashlight, blankets, jumper cables, sand and a small shovel or ice scraper.