- New tires.
Slippery roads can intimidate new drivers, so give the gift of confidence with a set of all-season tires. In especially wintery regions, try dedicated winter tires that can grip roads through snow and ice.
- Driving class.
Your teenager might have finished driver's ed, but that doesn't mean their education should end. Many hands-on programs offer winter-weather and defensive-driving courses, which can help teach your teen safer driving habits.
Driver's Edge is a free, half-day, hands-on training program that teaches teens to "know their limits." Forget parallel parking -; your teen will learn skid control, panic braking and evasive maneuvers from professional race car drivers. The program is based in Las Vegas and operates year-round (excluding January). From March through October it also goes mobile and may be coming to a city near you. Check out www.driversedge.org to learn more and get added to the notification list.
- Tire pressure gauge.
By keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure, your teen will maximize fuel efficiency and minimize tread wear. Find other useful safety tips at www.tiresafety.com.
- Emergency kit.
Every vehicle should carry a roadside emergency kit. Create one for your teen. Include jumper cables, road flares, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit, then add handy extras like a pre-paid cell phone, a flashlight with extra batteries, bottled water, cash, a portable tool set, a thermal blanket, a traction aid -; kitty litter works well-; and a disposable camera to document accidents.
- Video camera.
You don't have to understand YouTube to pick out a new video camera for your teen. Shop for a tapeless model with a removable flash memory or internal hard drive. That camera might just earn him a $5,000 college scholarship, thanks to the Bridgestone Firestone Safety Scholars program. Ask your teenage Tarantino to check out www.safetyscholars.com once he's finished filming "The Weekend My Parents Were Away." Look for new safety initiatives as this program continues to grow. Details will be available on the Web site.