There’s no such thing as being too safe on the road. You can be a new driver or someone who’s owned a vehicle for years and still forget about the dangers of driving. Sadly, you can never tell when an accident will happen.
Being aware of the most basic safety precautions can make all the difference. Here are eight safety tips that no driver should live without.
1. Always wear a seatbelt
Seatbelts save an average of 15,000 lives each year, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They prevent serious head injuries and keep a car’s occupants inside a vehicle during high-impact collisions.
Be sure to wear the seatbelt properly. If the seatbelts are too small, you can get seatbelt extenders.
2. Install children-friendly seats
Children require specialized seating based on their age, height, and weight. The only standard you should follow is to keep them at the backseat until at least 12 years old.
Below are the recommended seating for children:
- Birth to 12 months: Baby car seat buckled to a rear-facing backseat.
- 1 to 3 years: Toddler car seat buckled to a rear-facing backseat until they reach the maximum allowable height or weight.
- 4 to 7 years: Front-facing backseat with a harness. Once they outgrow the harness, replace it with a booster until they are grown enough to use an adult seatbelt.
- 7 to 12 years: Front-facing backseat with an adult seatbelt.
3. Don’t text while driving
Believe it or not, texting while driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence. Car and Driver Magazine compared drivers’ reaction times to brake lights as they drove 70 mph on a straight line. Legally drunk drivers took a distance of 4 feet before they stopped their vehicle. Drivers who were texting required 70 feet to stop a car fully.
4. Keep your eyes on the road
Apart from texting, you should avoid any distractions that would prevent you from maintaining focus while driving. If you need to attend to something like a call or your children, pull over to the side.
5. Maintain a safe speed
Speed limits are set for a reason. They ensure everyone’s safety in a given area – including motorists and pedestrians. Following the speed limit also gives you ample time to react if an accident takes place.
6. Have an emergency kit ready
Accidents can happen anytime. While some are unpreventable, others are not. The least you can do is prepare for them.
Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle and make sure it’s within reach from the driver’s seat. Some of the things you should have in an emergency kit include:
- First aid kit
- Car glass breaker
- Hazard triangle
- Tire gauge
- Jack and lug wrench
- Fire extinguisher
- Tire sealant or plug kit
- Spare fuses
- Jumper cables
7. Prepare your car for the climate
Certain climates such as summer and winter require that you take additional precautions. For instance, summer is a good time to check your vehicle’s cooling system. During winter, you may want to switch to winter tires to get better traction on a slippery road.
8. Maintain your vehicle
Proper maintenance is the key to having a vehicle that is safe for driving. Regular upkeep ensures that your car and its parts are in top shape, and that they are functioning as they should.