As soon as you get behind. Wheel and venture out of your driveway or parking space, there is risk involved. Yet, your safety, and that of others should be your number one priority.
Accidents happen, even to the most careful drivers. Another driver’s mistake may cost you or your passenger both financially and in terms of health. So, what are the basics when it comes to safe driving?
Buckle Your Seatbelt
Certainly not everyone’s favorite when it comes to getting into a car, a seatbelt is one of the foremost tools for protecting drivers and passengers involved in auto accidents. Vehicle accidents are among the top causes of mortality, so wearing a seatbelt for prevention should be a given.
The seatbelt may not only save your life, but aid in the prevention of life changing injuries.
Your Documents Need to Be Up to Date
In any number of situations, you may be asked to produce your driver’s license and the car registration. If either have expired, you may be in for a hefty traffic citation. While this may not ruin your weekly or monthly budget, it still is money that could be spent in a more productive or enjoyable way.
Carry a First Aid Kit
While this may be mandatory in many countries, it just makes good sense to carry one in your vehicle. Investing in a high quality first aid kit will provide you with on-the-spot quality medical supplies that may come in handy in an emergency.
You Need Auto Insurance
States will require you to assume financial responsibility for liability or damages should you cause an accident. Auto insurance is legally mandatory in most states as proof of this. If you don’t have it and it’s required, you’re going to get a ticket, and your license might be suspended. Some localities may even give jail time, so don’t fudge with car insurance.
You’ll have to decide the amount of coverage you want, but you’ll need at least third-party insurance to protect you from the financial costs of accidents, including injuries as well as damage and repairs. Just imagine that someone else crashes into you and you’re left to foot the bill.
This is especially important for younger drivers. For those heading off to college with their car, check with your insurance provider for car insurance for students to ensure you’re protected.
Car insurance contributes to peace of mind in the event of accidents. Keep your insurance card with you or safely stored in the car always.
Carry Car Accessories in the Event of an Emergency
If you get stuck on the road, you’ll happy that you brought these accessories along in your trunk:
- Car user manual
- Spare tire
- Tire inflator
- Tire pressure monitor
- Puncture repair kit
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Glass breaker/seatbelt cutter
- Reflective tape or elements
Keep Vehicle Maintenance Up to Date
For a vehicle to be safe on the road it needs regular maintenance. You should have an annual checkup if the mileage doesn’t get you to the auto shop sooner. Each part in a vehicle has its own lifespan, so it’s important for car parts to be replaced at regular intervals to keep your car in tip top shape.
Tire condition, oil changes, and any number of small maintenance procedures should not be overlooked or postponed. Good maintenance can make all the difference in vehicle response on the road, and there’s less chance of being stranded.
Watch the Speedometer and the Road Signs
You’d be surprised how easy it is to become distracted and exceed speed limits. A good percentage of all car accidents are caused by excessive speed, so relax and take it slow when on the road especially if there’s lots of traffic.
Increased traffic means you’ll need more time to get wherever you’re headed, so leave earlier if you are driving in heavy traffic time slots or during holidays.
Also keep an eye out for pedestrian crossings, stop signs, school zones, and signs indicating zones where children play. Watch for bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters, and remember pedestrians have the right of way at crossings.
When arriving at your destination, park in well-lit areas and have your keys or fobs ready. If your car has a fob, make sure you know the code in case you misplace it. Don’t leave valuables on seats where they can be seen and make sure you lock your car when leaving it.
No Drinking or Distractions
Alcohol consumption and driving don’t mix. Never drive after drinking alcohol. Have someone else drive you, take a taxi, or call for someone to come and pick you up. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Distraction is a major cause of car accidents, especially if you are texting on your cell phone when you should be concentrating on the road. Multitasking is distracting when driving. Get earphones if you plan on answering a call and program your phone for verbal commands so you don’t need to touch or look at it.
You can always equip your car with a loudspeaker. Just make sure your hands are on the steering wheel and those eyes stay on the road.
If you are involved in an accident, consult your insurance provider immediately for any changes in car insurance after an accident.
Make sure you have an accident attorney regardless of whose fault it is. A good attorney could make the difference especially if someone involved in the accident has been severely injured.