Auto Safety Tips

Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving for the thrill of it or for more practical reasons, it is important to do so safely. There are many risks that are associated with driving a car, truck, or SUV. These risks stem from various factors that can be within or outside of the driver's control. Following basic car safety tips is something that a driver can control, and will prevent the vast majority of accidents that happen on the road.

Weather conditions

Adjustments to one's car and driving strategy are often necessary depending on the weather conditions. This is particularly true in the cold-weather months when the roads are often slick from rain, snow, or ice. In preparation for driving in conditions that may be either wet or extremely hot, check the tires to ensure that there is enough tread and that they are properly inflated. All of the car's lights should also be working properly, and the windshield wipers should be inspected. Any issues that cannot easily be fixed should be taken to an auto mechanic for professional repair. An emergency kit stocked with flares, blankets, water, nonperishable snacks, a shovel, an ice scraper, and a flashlight should also be kept in the trunk.

In the rain, drivers should reduce their speed by five or even ten miles per hour. This can reduce the risk of hydroplaning or otherwise losing control of the vehicle. If areas are flooded or have large puddles of standing water, drivers should exercise caution and avoid driving directly through them. These areas may be deeper than they appear and cause vehicles to stall if water gets into the engine via the air-intake valve. Reducing speed is also important when driving in snow or when there is the potential for ice or black ice on the road. When in snowy areas, speed may need to be decreased by more than 10 miles per hour depending on the conditions. Cars should also keep a safe distance between them to prevent unintentional rear-ending due to increased stopping distances on slick surfaces. Additionally, cars can reduce their chances of spinning out by avoiding hard braking as they turn.

Drinking and driving

Drinking and driving is a danger to everyone, as it increases the risk of causing an accident that may result in serious injury or loss of life. According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31% of traffic deaths in 2014 were from alcohol-impaired crashes. Because of the threat that driving drunk poses, it is everyone's responsibility to keep impaired individuals from behind the wheel of a car. It is important to realize that the more a person drinks, the more they lose the ability to safely operate a vehicle. Their visual acuity, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination are impaired. They are unable to concentrate, make good judgment calls, or quickly process the information around them. Fortunately, drunk driving is preventable. Having a sober, designated driver on nights out is one of these steps. Another option is to take a taxi or call for a driving service. Friends can take their inebriated friend's keys or offer to let them sleep over. People throwing parties should offer water, coffee, nonalcoholic drinks, and food in addition to alcohol. Additionally, they should stop serving alcohol an hour before the party is over.

Sober drivers should report potentially drunk drivers if they notice erratic driving patterns such as swerving and wandering out of their lane or barely missing other drivers, for example. Have a passenger write down the license plate number, or if you are driving alone, try to remember it. Take note of the color and make of the car, whether the driver is male or female, and the direction the car is headed. When it is safe, pull over and call 911.

Cell phone use

Cell phones are a major threat to a driver's ability to safely operate their vehicle. When talking about the dangers of cell phone usage and driving, the focus is often on the hands. Holding a cell phone takes at least one hand off of the steering wheel, while using a cell phone to send or read a text takes one's hands and eyes off the road. Hands-free devices can help solve this issue, but that is only part of the danger that comes from using a cell phone in the car. Whether they are hands-free or hand-held, cell phone conversations are a distraction. Drivers can easily get caught up in a conversation or argument that pulls their focus away from the road. This makes them four times more likely to get into an accident. Avoid cell-phone-related accidents by turning the phone off completely before starting the car and getting rid of hands-free devices in the vehicle. To reduce the temptation, stow the phone in a location that cannot be accessed without pulling over and stopping the car.

Car seat safety

Cars are dangerous to children, who can be gravely injured in a crash. To prevent this, states have laws that require children to sit in car seats and booster seats up to a specified age. In general, children must sit in the back seat of the vehicle from their first car ride as a newborn. The first car seats are rear-facing and are used until the child reaches the maximum weight or height, at which time they are put into a forward-facing car seat. These seats use a harness to secure children. Children must use the forward-facing seat until they reach the maximum weight and height allowed by the manufacturer. Before they are able to sit directly in the car, children must ride in a booster seat, which aligns them properly with the shoulder and lap belt used by adults.

In order to be effective, car seats must be installed correctly. Proper installation involves the use of a seat belt or the LATCH attachment system. Failure to properly secure the car seat can cause it and the child to be ejected from the car or tossed around inside of it. Additionally, children must always be secured as directed in their car seats at all times.

Distracted driving

When people think of distracted driving, it is usually cell phones that come to mind. While talking and texting definitely meet the definition, they are not the only distractions that occur when driving. Anything that divides a driver's attention is considered to be a distraction. It may be a cognitive distraction and take the driver's mind from driving, or it may be manual, in which case it causes drivers to remove their hands from the wheel. Distractions may also be visual in nature, causing the driver to take their eyes from the road. Often, distractions that happen in the car involve all three types. To avoid any of these from happening, commit to driving and nothing else whenever the car is in motion. This means setting up music to play before driving, turning off all electronic devices, and doing things like putting on makeup or shaving prior to getting in the car. If hunger strikes, pull over to eat and drink. Do not engage in arguments with passengers, and ask passengers to keep distracting behavior down. Dogs should be secured properly in the car, as should children. If traveling with a crying baby, pull over safely to feed or soothe the child.


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Pardeep

21 years of experience
863 reviews
Pardeep
21 years of experience
Ford Fusion - 75 Point Safety Inspection - San Jose, California
I have ordered a 75-point inspection of the car since my dealership claimed it had an oil leak and the timing cover replacement was due (this kind of repair costs in the ballpark of a thousand dollars). I mentioned the need for a second opinion on that since the car had been bought relatively recently from that dealer (certified pre-owned) and not very actively used. Pradeep performed the safety inspection in a very timely manner and addressed my main question by honestly concluding that there was no leak but just some dust collected over time. This has saved me much time and money. Finally, I was also very glad to learn a tip on how to find a matching paint for a body scratch from him.
Ford Escape - 75 Point Safety Inspection - San Jose, California
Pradeep immediately found the suspension problem I was worried about and fixed it. We had just purchased this car and now feel a lot better about it now that he has checked it out.

Honorio

19 years of experience
828 reviews
Honorio
19 years of experience
Hyundai Accent - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Sunnyvale, California
Honorio not only told me what is going on with the car but was so honest about everything. Looking forward to having Honorio taking car of my requests.
Acura RDX - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Palo Alto, California
Honorio went above and beyond my expectations. He was honest about which repairs needed to be done even though my service revision decreased his income. Will absolutely use again!!!! Thank you!

Robert

4 years of experience
51 reviews
Robert
4 years of experience
Nissan Versa - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Lakewood, Washington
Robert is a rockstar. I can't express enough (again) the quality of his work and his ability to work around our schedules here. Honest, professional and courteous. I would recommend his services to any and everyone.

Juan

12 years of experience
29 reviews
Juan
12 years of experience
Mazda Protege5 - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Vacaville, California
Professional, clear, & courteous when discussing results of inspection & recommendations going forward. If I still live in the area when I need to do future services, will definitely book again.

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