Skip to main content

Teaching Your Teen To Drive In The Snow

By February 12, 2021March 1st, 2021Car Insurance, Knowledge, Personal Insurance
Vehicle driving on a snowy Pennsylvania road.

How To Teach Your Teen To Drive Safely In The Snow

If you live in Pennsylvania like us or any of the northern states you know driving in the snow is inevitable. As your teen is learning to drive, you should consider taking them out to drive in the snow. This can help them to learn how to drive safely in the snow.

Note, there are a lot of risks when you drive on snow-covered roads and slippery conditions, especially in PA. Depending on where you live and Pennsylvania county it probably seems like it takes forever for your road to be plowed.

When teaching your teen to drive in the snow, be sure to do it in semi-safe conditions. Do not take them out into snow you wouldn’t drive in normally. Below are steps and suggested teaching for your teen’s snow driving course:

1. Being Prepared In The Winter Months For Snow Covered Roads

Before you even drive it is important to teach your teen winter driving preparedness. While they might not plan on driving in the snow, they could be at a sporting event and walk outside only to find that the local news was wrong again and that dusting of snow was actually a foot of snow! This is why you are preparing them. It is much better for your child to be nervous driving in the snow in a controlled condition than for them to drive for the first time in the snow on their own.

Things you should have in your vehicle during the winter months:

  • Blanket
  • Extra Coat
  • Gloves
  • Ice Scraper
  • Road Flares
  • Jumper Cables (these should be in your teen’s vehicle normally)
  • Potentially some type of heat source for emergency situations


Having these items in your teen’s vehicle in the winter months can help keep them from being stranded, and help keep them safe if stranded for a period of time. Indicate the importance of dressing as if their car does not have heat.

2. Things To Do Before Driving With Your Teen In The Snow

There are a few things your teen might not be aware of or have never taken into consideration when it starts snowing. Make sure they know to fully clean off their car so snow doesn’t fall off their roof, cause an accident, and make them liable for an accident. Have them turn the car on to warm up before going out into the winter weather. This will help take care of your vehicle.

3. You Drive In The Snow Before Your Teen Does

When teaching your teen you should drive in the snow first. This way you can communicate what you are doing to drive safely in the snow and why you are doing it. Some quick things to show your teen while you drive with them in the snow:
Indicate how to use the four-wheel-drive if your vehicle has it. Also, teach them that the four-wheel-drive is not a magic button. They will still slide in the snow with it enabled.

  • Tell them to always have their lights on in the snow. Despite it being daylight, snowy conditions can make it more difficult to see vehicles, especially white cars.
  • Drive slower and indicate the extra space between vehicles to allow for slower stopping and effective braking.
  • Show them how breaking quickly can lead to sliding. A lot of teens will look to breaking as the only safe option in driving, but if it is used incorrectly in the snow and ice, braking can just as easily lead to an accident. When the wheels lock up, releasing will help you can traction and control the vehicle.
  • Talk about black ice and where it can normally be found (bridges, wet spots, low spots in the road, or potholes if you live in Pennsylvania.
  • If you see a snowplow, indicate that they should not pass snowplows, and they should put even more distance between them. Snowplows, (when not releasing salt continually) will release salt on areas they believe to have ice. The salt can bounce and crack your windshield if you are too close.

4. Have Your Teen Drive In The Snow

If your teen is extremely nervous, take them to a parking lot where they can feel more comfortable driving in the snow. As they drive in the snow, guide them on their speed, turning, and braking. Indicate when you ask them to slow down they should avoid braking and instead allow the car to slow itself down.

5. Do Not Do Donuts In The Parking Lot

While this can be extremely fun, it is unsafe and can lead to an accident. Also, doing donuts with your child in the passenger seat might indicate to them that it is okay to do in the future on their own.

Having Great Auto Insurance Makes Driving In The Snow Better!

That being said, make sure you have car insurance with us! Strickler Insurance provides car insurance in Lebanon PA. Contact us if you have any questions and get a free auto quote with your teen on your auto insurance policy.