Think about how fast your car flies down the highway. Now, consider all of the complicated parts that have to be just right so that you and your family remain safe and sound inside that fast-moving car. Even a tiny safety problem could cause you to lose control of the car. You can’t prepare for every possible problem, but there are some ways to reduce your car’s risk and make sure it is as safe as it can be Here’s how to check if your car is safe before you set off on a drive.
Things you should check on your car regularly
See and be seen
Your lights are more than a convenient way to see what’s ahead of you after dark. Other cars rely on your headlights to know that you are on the road. Your taillights protect you from being slammed into from behind. Turn signals allow other drivers to anticipate your next move and react accordingly. Check your car’s lights once a month to make sure they are all working. Replace burned-out lights as soon as you notice them.
Slowing and stopping
Worn brakes can cause many kinds of problems. As the brakes wear out, they may cause the car to pull forcibly to one side or another when you come to a stop. Of course, the most significant danger of worn brakes is that they will eventually make it difficult to stop your car. It would be best to have your brakes inspected as soon as you notice any difference in how they respond. It would be best to also look at unusual noises when you apply the brakes. There is nothing scarier than flying through an intersection when your brakes suddenly stop responding.
When the rubber meets the road
A car’s tires are the most critical factor when it comes to safety. If the tires are worn or improperly balanced, they can cause your steering to be less precise. When you hit a bump in the road or ride over a slick spot, your worn or misaligned tires could pull your car to one side and cause you to swerve into the next lane unexpectedly. Worn tires also present the danger of a blowout, making a car flip or behave erratically. Have your tires rotated twice a year and ask the tire technician to check the tread depth to ensure the tires are in good condition.
Keeping the fluids full
A car engine relies on several types of fluid to work correctly. Your oil lubricates the system and keeps it from overheating. Oil should be changed every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. Brake fluid keeps the braking pressure accurate so that the brakes will work properly. Transmission fluid helps the engine shift gears without too much friction. Radiator fluid keeps the engine from overheating. These fluids are vital for keeping your car safe from damage that could impact your safety on the road. Most auto shops will check your car’s fluids as part of their standard oil change service.
Wear and tear of flexible parts
Your engine also has many parts that are made from flexible rubber. Hoses and belts run throughout the engine and help keep everything moving correctly. Temperature changes and constant use will cause these parts to become brittle. After some time, the hoses can crack and leak. Belts can wear through and break in half. Take time to look at the rubber parts in your engine about once every month. If they look like they are developing cracks or wearing thin, take the car to a mechanic for a quick inspection.
Stocked emergency kit
No matter how prepared you are, the unexpected can still happen. Keep an emergency kit in your trunk to have what you need if you ever find yourself stranded in your car. A good emergency kit should contain a first aid kit, a blanket, some water, gloves, and a change of clothes. If you keep a set of old clothes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty, you won’t have to soil your work clothes if you need to change a tire. Tiny radio and a disposable cell phone are essential in an emergency kit.
Proper mirror alignment
Before you leave the driveway, make sure that you can see everything to the side and rear of your vehicle. Last year, over a dozen children were killed in America when they went behind a car before pulling out of a parking space. Take a few extra minutes before you begin to move to check all of your mirrors so that you can avoid any disasters. You should see the entire side of your car and the space directly behind you from each side window when you are comfortably seated in the driver’s seat.
Your car’s horn is an important safety feature. Not all drivers pay close attention to traffic all of the time. If someone begins to merge into you, you can use your horn as a quick way to alert them that you are there. Your horn is also helpful to alert dogs or cats to get out of the road ahead of you when you are driving on side streets. Many electronic car alarms use the horn as part of their safety system.
Crystal clear view
It can be tempting to stack valuable items in your car’s rear window or hang multiple items from your rearview mirror. While these decorations are a great way to show your unique personality, they can block your view of traffic. Try to keep all of your car’s windows as clean as possible all of the time. If you live in an area that receives ice and snow, clean the windows off entirely before you attempt to drive the car. Any item that impedes your view makes your car a little less safe for you and other drivers on the road with you.
A safe car will ensure you have less risky drives, prevent accidents, and consequentially keep your insurance premiums down.