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Safe driving tips for Wisconsin teens

At this time of the year, the snow and the ice can pile up quickly in La Crosse and make driving treacherous for even the most seasoned, skilled drivers. For teenage drivers who are new to being behind the wheel, winter can be even more hazardous.

That's why Wisconsin experts recently gave a media source a list of tips to help keep teen drivers safe and avoid car accidents that can cause injuries and fatalities.

  • Prepare the car for the weather: Clean off snow and ice from the windshield and windows, as well as headlights, turn signals and brake lights.
  • Respect restrictions: Wisconsin teens have restrictions on their graduated driving licenses, limiting the number of occupants in a vehicle and the hours during which the vehicle can be driven. "The limits keep drivers safe," a police spokesperson said of the constraints put on teen drivers.
  • Take time to learn: Teens are sometimes overconfident about their still-developing driving skills. They should slowly learn how to handle different driving challenges in a variety of circumstances.
  • No electronic distractions: Teens (and everyone else) should put the cell phones, MP3 players and the like out of reach. When a driver takes their eyes off of the road, bad things are much more likely to happen.
  • Notice speed limits: A driving instructor told the media source that it's common for inexperienced drivers to exceed speed limits. Part of the problem is that they just don't have enough practice applying the proper, consistent level of pressure to the gas pedal.

Perhaps most important of all is for parents to take the time to teach their children how to properly drive. Don't rush them, experts say, and don't assume that because they've got a permit, they're good to go. They need your guidance and experience to help them learn to be safe.

Source: Appleton Post-Crescent: "The ABCs of teaching teens safe driving habits," Jennifer Hogeland, Jan. 13, 2012

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