Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Liberty Mutual Provides Online Tips and Resources to Help Teen Drivers Navigate Dangerous Road Conditions This Winter

/PRNewswire/ -- With winter approaching, drivers in many parts of the country must prepare to cope with the season's ice, snow, and other hazards that turn roads treacherous and contribute to the more than 1.5 million annual weather-related car crashes reported by the National Research Council. And teen drivers in particular, many of whom will face wintry conditions behind the wheel for the first time, need added guidance to safely navigate the roadways through the upcoming months. To help, Liberty Mutual Insurance has a host of winter weather safety resources for teens at

"Driving in wintry conditions is no easy task, even for seasoned drivers, and it is especially difficult for younger drivers with limited experience to adapt to slippery roads and poor visibility," said Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. "Teen drivers need to take extra steps to protect themselves this winter, and parents need to promote and enforce safe driving habits to keep their teens safe."

Before getting behind the wheel, a driving safety video at will help teens and parents get winter road-ready and ensure their cars are safe and in good working order. Website visitors also will find winter car maintenance tips and a checklist for a winter driving safety kit. These tips from Liberty Mutual and Dave Melton include:

-- Before you get on the road in bad weather, check your local news
stations and their Internet sites - for detailed, up-to-the-minute
weather and traffic information.
-- If your trip is absolutely necessary, give yourself extra time.
-- During inclement weather put extra distance - at least five or six
seconds - between yourself and the vehicle in front.
-- Antilock brakes, all-wheel and four-wheel drive won't help you stop
-- Turn on your headlights so other drivers can see you. In snow, fog
and rain, don't use high beams - they increase glare for both you and
other drivers.
-- Signal your intentions early - don't surprise other drivers.
-- Do not use cruise control when roads are hazardous.
-- And, slow down!

Heeding such driving safety advice is critical year-round, but even more so during the winter: car crashes are 36 percent more likely to happen in January than July, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Add in unsafe or distracted driving behaviors reported by teen drivers in a recent study by Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), including speeding (39 percent), talking on a cell phone (37 percent) and text messaging (30 percent), and our winter roadways become even more dangerous.

Since 1991, Liberty Mutual and SADD have collaborated on research and responsible solutions to keep families safe behind the wheel, including the resources found at such as:

-- fun and easy ways for teens to brush up on basic driving skills such
as following street signs, mastering parallel parking, and managing
wet roads;
-- video demonstrations on safe driving techniques;
-- information on state-by-state driving laws;
-- a safe driving quiz that challenges teens to think about their driving
skills and compete with their parents or friends;
-- a customizable parent/teen safe driving contract with customizable
family ground rules around key safe driving issues such as speeding,
the number of passengers in the car, cell phone usage, texting while
driving, and curfews;
-- tips on how to talk to teens about driving distractions and dangers;
-- tips on buying and caring for a car, individual car safety scores;
-- and, an exclusive 50 percent discount for teens to take the National
Safety Council's online Defensive Driving Course.

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