Every driver has an enormous responsibility when they get behind the wheel. As the driver of a machine that weighs thousands of pounds, it is important to always drive as safely as possible. There are many dos and don’ts of driving, such as cell phone usage and car seat laws. Knowing the rules and regulations of your state is very important to staying the safest driver possible. You don’t want to end up losing your car because you broke the law too many times.
Car Maintenance Safety Tips
Maintaining one’s car is extremely important to being a good driver. Simple maintenance can be performed to make sure that the vehicle is running smoothly and at peak condition. For example, a driver should always make sure their tires are at the correct pressure, and have enough tread to drive safely in bad weather conditions. Windshield wiper blades should be checked, oil changes should be done often and brakes tested frequently.
- 74 car tips for safe driving: A compilation of some surprising tips and tricks to keep your car running safely
- Good Wrench Tips: Videos and downloads for car maintenance
- Maintenance Check, Under the Hood: Car care and routine maintenance
Talking on your Cell Phone While Driving
When you are driving, one of the most dangerous and distracting tasks you can possibly do is to talk on your cell phone. Talking on a cell phone requires the use of one hand to hold it, which should be on the wheel. Using a hands-free device, such as speaker phone or a Bluetooth can help, but it can still be distracting. The best bet is to hold off on any and all calls until you are parked. Each state has different cell phone laws for drivers, and many areas are now making it illegal to talk on the phone while driving.
- State Cell Phone Driving Laws: State cell phone laws organized in a easy to follow chart
- Talking on Cell Phones Disrupts Driving: Scientific proof that talking on a cell phone influences driving performance
- Cell Phone Study on Reaction Times: 20 year old drivers talking on cell phones have a reaction time equivalent to a 70 year old driver.
Multitasking While Driving
Everyone multitasks, but it is dangerous to do while driving. To be the safest driver always watch the road, and keep your full attention on your surroundings. Multitasking is doing anything other than putting your entire focus on driving and can include trying to feed the baby, looking up directions on your phone or a map, or eating. Doing these things can cause a driver to become distracted, and just a second or two is long enough to cause an accident.
- Multitasking Mania and Distracted Driving: More than 80% of crashes are because of multitasking drivers
- Just Like Drunk Driving: Reasons why multitasking in the car is a bad idea
Child Safety Seats
When you have a baby or a child in the car, it is a priority to have the best child safety seat you can possibly have. A baby must be in a rear facing car seat up until a certain age, which depends on the law and the state you reside in. Children who are in booster seats must remain there until a certain height and weight limit is reached. It is important to make sure your child’s safety seat is buckled in correctly, so that in the event of an accident, your child is protected.
- Car Seat FAQs: Laws and help to use when choosing a child safety seat
- Child Safety Seats: Safety seat use chart and protection laws
- Child Car Seat Safety: Large list of questions and answers regarding child safety seats
Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety
Air bags can help prevent death or serious injury if an accident occurs. Seat belts can also prevent injuries. Not only that, having air bags in your vehicle can even get you a break on your auto insurance policy. It is important to always remember that an air bag can severely hurt or even cause death to a young child if it goes off. Prevent this by keeping all children in the back seat until they are of age to ride in the front.
- Air Bags Save Lives: Air bag safety facts
- Air Bag Safety Information: Most people who have died from airbag related injuries were improperly restrained
- Crash Statistics (pdf): Traffic safety facts
- Seat Belts, Why You Should Use Them: About 50% of car accident related deaths could be prevented by wearing a seatbelt.
Staying safe on the road is every driver’s responsibility. You may want to go over the rules of the road before you purchase a car or go through a car donation service to purchase a used vehicle at auction. No matter what you decide, knowing how to be safe on the road is important for everyone to learn.