Are You A Safe Driver?

June 2nd, 2010

vehicle

How much time do you spend behind the wheel? Whether you drive for work, fun or simply to get from one place to another, it’s always essential to follow safe driving practices.

June is National Drive Safe Month, so PeopleFinders is sharing some important safety tips for drivers. Safe driving begins with the purchase of any vehicle.

Is Your Vehicle Safe?
More people are buying used cars to save money these days, so a proper safety inspection is important. A used car that has been in an accident or endured other damage (such as flooding) may appear to be in good shape but cause you trouble later.

Every vehicle has a comprehensive history report that tells you if it has been crashed, salvaged or damaged in any way. You can also learn how many people owned the vehicle and discover if it was used as a rental or fleet car. Request a report for any vehicle you’re interested in owning.

Maintain Your Automobile
Keeping your vehicle properly maintained is just as important as filling the tank with gas. Change the oil and monitor the other fluid levels (coolant, brake, etc.) regularly to keep it running smoothly.

Check your tire pressure frequently to make sure they are properly inflated. This extends the life of your tires, gives you better gas mileage and reduces the risk of a blowout.

Listen to your vehicle – if it makes a noise, pay attention. Your vehicle may be warning you that it’s time to change the brakes (they emit a high-pitched squeal when the pads wear out) or that another part should be replaced. Ignoring these sounds could be dangerous and costly.

Be A Model Motorist
Drive like you wish others would; responsibly and courteously. Always use your turn signal and pull over for faster drivers when you’re on the freeway. Leave enough space between your car and the vehicle in front of you so you have time to stop during an emergency. Remember the 2-second rule: pick a landmark and count the number of seconds between the time the car in front of you passes by until your car reaches it. You should have at least a 2-second gap.

Driving while distracted is never safe. Avoid doing anything that takes your focus away from the road, such as eating or texting. Don’t drive if you are too sick or tired. Stay alert, and remember that not every driver will be as safety-conscious as you, so drive defensively and always leave yourself an exit route.

Perhaps the most important driving safety tip is to never operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Every year thousands of people are killed in alcohol-related accidents. Protect yourself and others; always driver sober.

Blind Spots
Every driver has blind spots. These are areas of the road drivers cannot see using mirrors alone. After you check your mirrors, turn your head and look before you change lanes. You may be surprised at what you see. A large number of accidents occur when one driver inadvertently pulls into another.

Larger vehicles have larger blind spots, so it’s up to you to avoid them. A trucker who needs to change lanes may not be able to see your car. Remember that if you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, the driver can’t see you.

Be Prepared
Despite our best efforts, sometimes car trouble is inevitable. You can, however, be prepared for blowouts, breakdowns and even accidents.

Carry a tire iron, jack and spare tire in your vehicle. Make sure the spare is properly inflated. A flat tire is frustrating; an unusable spare is worse. Keep a first aid kit within reach so you have access to bandages, gauze and other items in case of injury.

Bring a small tool kit with you, especially on long drives. Your kit should have a socket set, screwdrivers, flares, fuses, jumper cables, a flashlight with batteries and anything else you may need if you break down. If you can afford it, consider adding roadside assistance to your insurance plan. The less time you spend on the side of the road, the safer you’ll be.

Got a license? Safe driving is the responsibility of every person who gets behind the wheel. Start practicing these safety tips during National Drive Safe Month and become a better driver all year long. Be safe out there, and thank you for reading the PeopleFinders People Search blog.

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