Winter Driving Tips

Go Au Pair offers its au pairs and Host Families local support throughout their cultural childcare experience, including everything from where to go tonight, New Year’s Eve, to au pairs and the IRS. Today, let’s talk about how to drive in winter conditions.

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Follow these tips to keep safe on the roads this winter.
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Many au pairs come to the US with their International Driver’s Permit, which, in many states, allows them to drive without getting the state-issued driver’s licenses we carry. As a Local Area Representative, I always recommend my Host Families strongly encourage their au pairs to obtain the state-issued license as a way to demonstrate their proficiency and driving skill. This is particularly important since Host Families who require their au pair to drive as part of their duties must provide the vehicle as well as automobile insurance for the au pair and obviously, parents want to know their children are with a safe driver.

As far as driving in winter conditions, the number one rule should be only drive when it is absolutely necessary. If possible, when the road conditions are potentially icy or snowy, do not drive at all. Be prepared for incoming weather conditions by downloading any number of weather apps on your phone or tablet, or check the forecast before hitting the road.

Second, slow down. Every move one makes in winter driving conditions should be done at a slower pace. Drive slower, significantly slower. If driving on a road whose posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour, that is the recommended safe speed during ideal conditions, or sunny, dry and clear. In winter conditions, one should drive at least 10mph or more below the posted limit. Turn the vehicle slower at corners or intersections, or you will spin out of control, even on a small patch of ice. Brake slower. Depress the brake pedal more gently and slower than you would during good weather conditions. Jamming on the brakes quickly will cause skidding too.

Third, keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. If the normal rule is for every ten miles per hour your vehicle is moving, keep one vehicle-length away from the car in front of you, double that for winter conditions. For example, normally traveling 40mph, one should stay 4 car-lengths away from the car you are following. In winter conditions, it is recommended to keep 8 car-lengths away at the same speed.

Finally, plan for double the driving time if you do decide to drive in winter conditions. Listen to the radio or television for cancellations and delays, as the plow trucks need time and space to clear the roads and make them safe to travel. If you see a plow truck, give it plenty of space. Do not follow too closely or try to pass plow trucks. It is better to arrive safe and late than to have a car accident! When in doubt, reschedule or cancel, if possible.

I hope these tips will be helpful to my local families and au pairs as we enter the winter season. If you have questions about a cultural childcare experience or affordable au pair childcare, please contact me, Joan Lowell, your Local Area Representative in RI, at 401.309.1925 or To register for free and without obligation, visit us online at I look forward to speaking with you soon!


One thought on “Winter Driving Tips

  1. Pingback: Do All Au Pairs Drive? | Go Au Pair - Providence

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