Car safety should be of paramount concern for every vehicle owner. It is not just about driving responsibly but more of becoming a responsible owner that will make your car safer. When you are on the road, the safety and well-being of your passengers are literally in your hands. But you should also consider those who share the road with you.
In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips you can use to improve car safety. We shall cover all the key areas which should always be considered before you go on the road, while driving and during certain weather conditions. We will also give you insights on safety features that can be added to old cars.
Car Safety Checklist
You’ve had your cup of coffee and you have a bagel in your hand, but is you car ready to go on the road? In today’s tightly competitive world, everyone always seems to be rushing out the door. Not many car owners spend enough time attending to the needs of their finely-tuned machines before they hit the road.
But can you imagine getting a flat tire on the main highway? Or running out of brake fluid during a rainy afternoon? The short amount of time you spend going through a simple car safety features list can save you time, convenience and the lives of your passengers.
- When you get home, check your tires for puncture marks. You have no idea what types of debris are on the road. You could have run over nails, jagged rocks or really sharp and thick tacks.
- Check your tire pressure every 1 or 2 weeks. Driving around with your wheels properly pressurized not only assures road safety but it also prolongs the life of your tires and improves fuel economy. Your tires tend to lose more pressure during cold weather. Every 10 degrees drop in Fahrenheit causes your tires to lose around 1 pound of pressure per square inch. Be guided by the recommended tire pressure indicated in your car manual.
- Check your car’s fluids as frequently as possible. These important fluids include: engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and windshield wiper fluid.
- Test your brakes. If you notice difficulty in getting the car to stop on time, have it checked at a nearby gas station or repair shop before proceeding on your journey.
- Warm up your car properly before taking it out on the road. It does not take much time to get your car ready for the rest of the day:
- Turn the ignition on, but don’t start the engine yet.
- Within a few seconds, you should hear the fuel pump priming the engine. Some cars have a built in sensor which tells you when it is time to start the engine.
- Start the car and idle for around 20 seconds. That’s it! You’re now ready to hit the road.
- Make sure your trunk is complete with all required tools for repairs and safety. Your equipment checklist should include the following:
- Fully pressurized spare tire
- Hydraulic jack
- Tool chest
- Emergency light
- Reflective triangle
- First aid kit
- Duct tape
- 3 gallons of drinkable water
- Multi-Use car charger
- Stick to a regular maintenance schedule for your car. Here’s a sample car maintenance schedule that you can use as reference:
- Tire Rotation – Every 5,000 miles
- Battery – Every 6,000 miles
- Wheel Alignment – Every 6,000 miles
- Air Filter, Breather Filter, Canister Filter – Every 12,000 miles
- Engine Tune Up – Every 12,000 miles
- Brakes – Every 24,000 miles
- Suspension Parts – Every 24,000 miles
- Transmission Service – Every 24,000 miles
- Cooling System Hoses – Every 36,000 miles
- Timing Belts – Every 60,000 miles
On the Road Safety
Once you are confident of your car’s level of road-worthiness, it’s time to shift your attention to road safety. The global statistics on road accidents are alarming. There are 1.3 Million road accidents which result in fatalities every year. Another 20 to 50 million are injured or become disabled. This are horrible statistics but there is no point ignoring reality.
Driving is easy but once you go out on the road, you are exposed to different risk factors some of which are not under your control. The best thing you can do is to focus on how you can contribute to road safety. Here are a few basic and simple tips to consider:
- Adjust your rear view and side mirrors to make sure you have a good view of all cars in your periphery.
- Shut off your mobile phone when driving.
- Do not accelerate just because you are familiar with the area.
- Clear the dashboard of debris.
- Keep your music down to comfortable audible levels.
- Do not multi-task while driving; this means no eating, drinking or fiddling with your mobile phone.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Never drive when you are tired, under the influence of alcohol or drugs that will make you sleepy.
- Stay 100% focused on the road; don’t get distracted by billboards, pedestrians and other drivers.
- If your area experiences snow, do not hesitate to invest in snow chains. You should also keep a stock of road salt to melt the ice and sand or kitty litter to increase traction on your tires.
Safety Features That Can be added to Old Cars
A car is a depreciating asset; it is subject to wear and tear. As it racks up the mileage and adds on the years, you should never expect it to be “good as new” even with regular maintenance and checkups. Its performance on the road will gradually suffer over time.
However there are safety features that can be added to old cars to lower their risk of getting into accidents. Here are a few of them:
- Forward- Collision Warning Systems. These are sensors that warn you if you are too close to another car.
- Blind Spot Warning Systems. These are sensors that warn you if there are cars passing by your blind side.
- Back Up Cameras. These devices are ideal for tight parking situations.
- Anti-Lock Brakes. Before buying, you have to check if the model and year of your car can be fitted with anti-lock brakes.
- Better Air Bags and Seat Belts. These items are usually standard safety features for a car. Similar to anti-lock brakes, you have to make sure the model and year can accommodate better versions of air bags and seat belts.
Safety should be an ongoing thought process when you have a car. It is a quality that you cannot get complacent about or adopt a mindset that accidents could never happen to you. Situations always get worse when you are not prepared for it.
The time and money you spend to make your car safer will ensure better days ahead while driving on the road. It will end up costing you less in unwanted repairs and accident claims.
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