How do you feel when you get behind the wheel of a vehicle? If you’ve ever been in an accident or have had your car broken into, you may not feel as comfortable as you should.
Fortunately, there are many ways today’s cars make us safer than ever. Vehicles are equipped with safety technology that can help prevent us from getting into accidents on the road, and built-in anti-theft devices can keep your car secure, but that doesn’t mean you’re released from all responsibility to keep your car safe yourself.
Here are seven tips you can follow on a daily basis that will help keep your car safer.
Always Pay Attention Behind the Wheel
Keeping your car safe starts with you and your behavior behind the wheel. It’s estimated that more than 90 percent of traffic accidents can be attributed to human error, and not the car itself. Before you get wound up about the safety features or the age of your vehicle, you have to take a good, hard look at your habits.
Your number one job while you’re driving is to pay attention to the road. Avoid texting, calling, entering information into a GPS, skipping radio stations, and anything else that can distract you.
When you avoid an accident, you can maintain greater confidence behind the wheel. It also prevents you from compromising your vehicle. Even after a repair, your car may not be as safe as it was before the accident. Keep your car and your self-confidence in tact by taking your job as a driver seriously.
Take Your Car to the Mechanic
Taking your car to the mechanic isn’t cheap. Car maintenance costs can add up, but the more often you go, the more you can keep costs down.
If you avoid your car’s regular maintenance schedule, things are more likely to break down, and they may cause problems with other systems in your vehicle as you drive around with a broken part. Not only are these kinds of problems expensive to fix, but they can also compromise your safety behind the wheel.
Follow your car’s regular maintenance schedule and request a general inspection every time you bring your car in. That way you can fix problems before they compromise your safety and your wallet.
Pay Attention to Your Tires
Not only do you have to pay attention to what’s underneath the hood, but you also have to pay attention to your tires. Worn tires can be very dangerous. Tires with half their tread can cause you to lose your grip on the road, but bald tires are especially bad. It’s easy to slip and slide on wet roads, but slamming on the brakes in perfect conditions can cause your stopping distance to increase, resulting in an accident.
You may not know what you’re looking for when you look at your own tires, so make time to ask a mechanic or a tire specialist about the quality of your tires. If your treads are getting worn, replace them right away.
Keep Valuables Out of Sight
Keeping your car safe means making sure it’s road-ready, but it also means looking for ways to prevent theft. Not only will you feel violated if someone enters your car without your permission, but criminals who really know what they’re doing can take off in your vehicle.
The last thing you want to do is encourage criminals to break into your car. That means keeping your valuables out of sight.
A few tips for hiding your valuables inside your car include:
- Avoid hiding items in the glove compartment, as it’s the first place thieves look
- Hide a purse or bag under a seat or in the back corner of the trunk
- Hide things in unlikely items, like a slatted tennis ball or toiletry containers
Know Where to Park Your Car
Criminals who want to break into cars to look for valuables or hack into the car so they can drive it away look for easy targets to avoid getting caught. That means you can keep your car a lot safer if you know where to park.
When parking in a parking lot or on the street, park under a street lamp when leaving your car overnight. During the day, park your vehicle in busy spots where there are a lot of people. If you can’t, park it within direct eyesight of a busy building or a window.
Always Lock Your Car
It should go without saying, but it’s a safety tip that’s often overlooked—whenever you exit your vehicle, you should always lock the door.
Even if you don’t think you have anything of value inside your car, you should lock the door anyway. Not only can you forget about some items that thieves could take off with, like car chargers and expensive sunglasses, thieves can still steal your vehicle. If they can’t get in easily because the doors are locked, they are more likely to move on and try a different car.
Keep Track of Your Key
The easiest way to steal a car or gain entry to steal what’s inside is to get ahold of the key. Never leave your key in the car, and never store a spare key in the car or under a bumper. Instead, spare keys should be kept inside the house. If you lock yourself out, someone will just have to drop the key off for you.
It also means doing your best not to lose your keys. Although you can easily replace them, the more keys you have floating around out there, the less safe your car is. If you end up finding your old spare, have it destroyed so you only have the keys you really need.
You should feel safe and confident every time you get into your vehicle. If you’re feeling a little uneasy because you’re worried about getting into an accident or experiencing a break-in, following these tips will help you put your mind at ease.