New Drivers Navigating Their First Winter


Alana Finlayson

Parking for the Day: Foran High students utilize the student parking lot on school mornings. November 14, 2022.

          Each year there are more new drivers on the road. Whether they have their Learner’s Permit or are newly licensed for the school year, every new driver has one fear in common: their first winter. Driving in the winter can be dangerous due to chances of snow, ice, and slush, which can be worrisome to new drivers.

          Considering that most new drivers are still in high school, it’s very easy for them to become overwhelmed with the amount of risks that come with driving in the winter for the first time. 

          Junior Kelly Aspras states, “…if you can drive in the summer you can drive in the winter.” 

          Aspras has a very optimistic attitude for driving, her confidence radiates good energy about the winter ahead. 

          Aspras adds, “My mom always says nervous drivers are bad drivers…” Aspras references what she learned from her mother and passes it on to new drivers of the community, a lesson she believes could help everyone. Nearly all new drivers find themselves nervous to face the road on their own for the first time, Aspras providing this piece of advice could prove to be very useful to them. 

         Foran’s School Resource Officer (SRO), Officer Kayleigh Kish says, “Newer drivers might not be familiar with their ability or their vehicle’s ability when driving in winter weather conditions. For instance, if it is their first time driving in snow or icy conditions it can take time to get a feel for the safe speed that you can maneuver in these conditions.” 

         While new drivers may be adjusted to ideal conditions, winter conditions are a whole new type to familiarize with. Drivers find themselves overthinking basic maneuvers of the road.

          DMV driving instructor Greg LaFoutain says, “New drivers are inexperienced…They also might be careful of the obvious visual hazards but are not aware of the hidden ones.” 

          While new drivers are hyper-focused on avoiding obvious dangers of the road, it’s easier for them to miss the hidden dangers. For example, black ice is a thin layer of transparent ice that often lines the street in the winter. 

          LaFountain adds his advice for new drivers, saying, “Know your vehicle…take it slow…allow extra time to get to where you are going…pre plan your route…do not text and drive.” 

          Coming from a DMV instructor, the importance of knowing your vehicle is further emphasized. By knowing your vehicle, you are ensuring that you will be prepared in case of an emergency.

          LaFountain adds, “Being a confident driver will help you to avoid getting in an accident, getting stuck in the snow, or sliding on the road.” 

          The phrase “confidence is key” rings true for all situations, especially new drivers in the winter.