This week I was in a hair salon while my soon-to-be 13 year old daughter was getting her hair done, paying for it herself with her hard-earned babysitting money. There was a little guy in a (socially distanced) seat near us, about 2 years old, having the worst time ever with is haircut because he wanted nothing to do with it. I mentioned to the mom that my oldest was just like that when he was a toddler and was taken back to that memory of holding him, squirming and crying, in the chair while the hair stylist tried her best to cut his hair. I then told her that you have these moments and then, you blink, and suddenly your son turns 16 and has a license and the worries about that haircut are so insignificant at that point. Then I showed her little guy some videos of our chihuahua on my phone to distract them and teared up when he gave me an enthusiastic “byeeeee” when it was time for him to go.
Having your first born get their driver’s license is perhaps maybe the biggest milestone of their childhood years. I counted dates for first teeth popping through, first steps, words, and more. My oldest was recognizing and chirping the alphabet with flashcards before his second birthday and reading at three years old. But this? This is a big one.
Reading info about new drivers from your local provincial government website or insurer certainly doesn’t help my heart either. From SGI here in Saskatchewan:
Teen drivers have disproportionately high fatality, injury and collision rates. Drivers ages 16-24 tend to take more risks behind the wheel, despite their modest skill level.
In 2016, preliminary data shows that 18 people were killed and 1,082 were injured on Saskatchewan roads when a teen driver was behind the wheel. Although drivers in this age group only represent 6.63% of drivers on the road, they account for 18.3% of major injury collisions and 15.6% of fatal collisions in Saskatchewan.
Great. Super. Fan-flippin-tastic. These stats are scary and something we can’t ignore, yet reading them does nothing to help a parent worry less when your teenager gets in the car, a piece of your heart driving away with a smile on their face in their vehicle. The thing is, I have to not only allow this, I have to embrace it. This is a part of parenting – a big part – and something we work towards. We want our kids to become independent young adults and while those steps are often harder for us parents than they are for the kids, the end goal is a good one. We want to raise happy children into good and responsible and compassionate adults.
So, as in all things that stress me out, I’ve learned that I can concentrate on the things I can control. I can teach my son good driving habits, I can remind him to always ensure there’s at least 1/4 tank of gas in the car, to make sure his phone is always charged but put away, and anything else I can think of in those minutes before he goes out the door. I can also make sure that the vehicle he’s driving is safe for Saskatchewan roads – as safe as it can be for winter driving when your kid gets their driver’s license in November.
For me, that meant winter tires were an absolute must on his vehicle. My husband’s car has them, my own SUV has studded winter tires (because I’m fancy and also it’s the vehicle that is driven with my most precious cargo inside the most) and with a new-to-us-car and driver this year it was important that my son’s car have them too.
We put Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV on my teenager’s car this winter, courtesy of Kal Tire. I like how they’re described as “a balance of safety and comfort. They adapt to all weather variations offering relentless grip and making driving controlled, precise and enjoyable.” Relentless grip! Controlled driving! Yes! This is what a mom of a new driver wants to hear!
A Kal Tire winter driving survey confirms Canadians have concerning misperceptions about which tires are safe for winter use. The survey polled 1,664 motorists from BC to Ontario and found that while many drivers experience severe winter conditions, their tire choices could be putting themselves and others on the road at risk. 66% of Canadian drivers surveyed didn’t know the difference between all-season and all-weather tires (when temperatures fall below +7C, an all-weather or winter tire is the safe choice for drivers!) While 86% of Canadians surveyed believe that all-season tires are suitable for mild winter conditions, 89% of Canadians said they encounter severe winter driving conditions at least occasionally. Those numbers don’t make a lot of logical sense to me!
Here in Saskatchewan, only 43% of drivers surveyed said they plan on using winter designated tires. That’s a statistic that is so surprising to me, because I’ve lived here all my life and know how brutal our winters can be. I absolutely understand the price of winter tires is one more thing added to the family budget for a year, but it’s one of those items that shouldn’t be overlooked because it’s a safety issue. Winter tires are an investment, and if you take care of them (which means putting them on and taking them off at the appropriate times and not driving on them all summer – more about that at the link) you can get several years of wear out of them before they need to be replaced. This article on KalTire.ca explains when to consider replacing your winter tires.
A recent test done by Kal Tire revealed that winter tires, on average, stopped 14.68 metres sooner on ice compared to 3-seasons. So, if you think about the possibility of your vehicle on a slippery hill or slick intersection and needing to brake quickly, would you want to stop in 15 m or nearly 45 m? As a mom, that matters a lot.
If you still haven’t booked your winter tire switch over, Kal Tire makes it easy with online booking, limited customer capacity to keep us safe, and contactless payment too.
I’m hopeful that, along with good driving habits and, yes, starting to drive alone in the winter months when driving can be tricky, having winter tires on his car from day one will be something my teenager will continue to do as he ventures out on his own to the next milestones in the years ahead like university, a career path and his own family. See? There’s a reason why I teared up with that little guy in the hair salon the other day. It just goes by so fast.
Disclosure: This is a post in partnership with Kal Tire and I was provided the tires in exchange for this post. All opinions, thoughts, and sappy reflections are my own.