The holidays are over, but winter weather is not. Above freezing daytime temperatures with rain can be deceiving, especially for inexperienced teen drivers. As the temperature drops at night, wet roads turn into icy roads and can also lead to black ice in the morning while teen drivers are making their way to school.

Black ice can be one of the most dangerous winter road conditions. It is clear and appears black, because the dark road surface shows through. It is virtually impossible to see and can easily catch a driver off guard. Shady areas, areas near lakes and rivers, tunnels, and overpasses are particularly susceptible to black ice.

We’ve gathered this information to help you talk to your teens about safe winter driving.

  • Keep an ice scraper with a brush in your car. Ensure that your windshield washer reservoir is full and in working condition. Remember that bridges and overpasses can freeze before the roads do. Look for patches of dry pavement, sand, or gravel providing better traction. Keep headlights on to make it easier for other drivers to see you. Avoid sudden changes in direction or speed. When starting out in bad weather, test your brakes to check road conditions. Keep at least a three-car distance from the car in front of you. The distance needed to stop on ice is twice as long as under normal driving conditions. Brake gently when driving on slippery surfaces like ice or snow, and use light pressure on the accelerator pedal when starting. If your wheels start to spin, take your foot off the gas until traction returns. If you start to skid, take your foot of the gas, shift into neutral, and turn in the direction you want to go. If you’ve had to dig your car out of snow or ice you’ve backed into snow, make sure your exhaust tailpipe is clear. If your tailpipe is blocked, you may be breathing carbon monoxide. If you’re stuck in ice or snow, try putting your floor mats under the edge of the tires for traction.

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