Driver Safety: Things to Check Before You Drive

Written By: Bryan Sansom and William Harding, Student-at-Law

Proper vehicle maintenance is a crucial part of safe driving. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are as a driver, if your vehicle is not in proper operating condition, you are at risk on the road. Modern vehicles often provide warning signals when many of their systems fail. While these are helpful, it is important to also be proactive in monitoring the condition of your vehicle. This article will outline a few simple steps that can be taken to ensure your vehicle is in proper working order.

Tires

One critical part of your car are its tires. It is important that all of the tires on your vehicle have enough tread to grip the road. Driving with compromised tires can greatly reduce your stopping time as the car may lose traction. Having proper tires is especially critical in the winter months when the road conditions are often slippery. A quick and simple way to test the tread on your tires is known as the quarter test. Simply place a quarter upside-down into the tread of your tire. If the top of the Queen’s head is not covered by the tire, then your tires should be replaced.

It is also important to maintain proper air pressure in your tires. Some cars have alarms that indicate low tire pressure, but it is still good practice to occasionally inspect your tires for any signs of deflation. Low tire pressure may cause premature wear and tear, and puts you at a greater risk of a blowout.

Visibility

In order to maximize your ability to see the road, make sure your headlights are clear of dirt and snow, and are functioning properly. A cracked windshield should be replaced as the crack can easily grow which can lead to an obstructed line of sight. Wipers should be replaced if they begin leaving streaks on your windshield; this usually starts to happen every couple of years. Be sure that your car has enough windshield washer fluid. It is good practice to store windshield wiper fluid in your vehicle incase you run out. These tips are especially critical in the winter months. During winter storms, it may be necessary to apply washer fluid frequently in order to maintain visibility. If you run out of fluid or have wipers that do not properly clear your view, you will be putting your safety at risk.

Other Steps

  • Check under your vehicle for any signs of fluid leaks
  • Check mirrors to make sure they are clear and unbroken
  • Ensure head rests are properly adjusted to the height of the driver and passengers
  • Ensure brakes are functioning properly and not making any unusual noises when applied

Following these steps will help ensure your vehicle is in proper working order, and help keep you and your loved ones safe this winter. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident please contact the critical injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando LLP for a free consultation.

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