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Help Prevent Car Accidents

WomanCheckingTires

We all want cheap auto insurance. Right? You can lower yours by simply not having accidents. I know so, before you say, “duh,” take a moment to think about what your maintenance habits are. Do you check the adjustment of your mirrors? Along with driving responsibly, checking your car’s other safety features is the best way to avoid traffic encounters.

Horn
Your horn is an essential piece of the car’s safety equipment. It’s necessary so you can communicate with other drivers and pedestrians. Having a properly functioning horn is also required by law. One that can be heard from 200 feet away. In most states, not having a working horn will cause you to fail an inspection.

Mirrors
Do you check the adjustment of your mirrors? You should routinely check them before pulling into traffic. Most cars have blind spots. Having someone stand at different locations while you adjust, can help eliminate them. Add-on mirrors can help and also make changing lanes safer.

Windshield Wipers
Another essential piece of your car’s safety features is windshield wipers. Do you have streaks or smearing when using them? According to RainX.com, you should replace them every six months to a year. Or, when they start to skip or chatter.[1]

Lights
Not just your headlights but, all your exterior lights should be checked regularly. It’s a lot easier than getting a ticket or getting in a wreck. Check them at night and also, check your headlight alignment. Don’t forget that little light above your license plate. It’s required by law in most states.

Brakes
All vehicles have a braking system and an emergency brake. According to SafeMotorist.com, the emergency brake must stop a vehicle traveling at 20mph within 25 feet on a dry road.[2] The most obvious sign your brakes are failing is a squealing sound when you come to a stop. Another indication is your brake pedal pushing down further than it used to, causing your vehicle to require a longer distance to stop. If any of these is happening to you, get your brakes check immediately.

Tires
One of the most important safety features of you car is the tires. I know, they are expensive. However, like those Michelin ads say, “There’s a lot riding on your tires.” Rotating your tires every 8,000 to 10,000 miles will decrease wear and extend their life. Also, checking the air pressure and adjusting for weather conditions (the air pressure in your tires can lower about one PSI for every 10 degrees drop in temperature) will help prolong their life too. Don’t forget about the tire tread. It needs to be at least 1/16th of an inch. An easy way to check it is to take a penny, with Lincoln’s head pointing down, then, insert it in the tread. If the top of his head is covered, you’re good to go. If you can see the top of his head, it’s time for new tires.

Nowadays, cars come with all kinds of safety features. From rear backup cameras to autonomous braking systems. Although, maintaining your car’s basic safety features, as well as, driving defensively is still the best way to avoid accidents.

[1] “Wiper Blade Information & Maintenance,” http://www.rainx.com/tips-information/wiper-blade-maintenance-tips/

[2] “How to Care for and Use Your Vehicle’s Safety Equipment,” http://www.safemotorist.com/articles/safety_equipment.aspx