For many of us, there isn’t much of a thought process between walking out to our cars and driving away. We just assume that everything is fine, and that there isn’t anything we need to worry about. However, this isn’t always the case. But by taking a few moments before you drive, you can ensure that both you and your car are in good enough condition to drive, thereby helping to ensure that you arrive safely at your destination.
One of the first things you should check is also one of the easiest. As you drive, your tires wear down. If they wear down too far, they will be unable to properly grip the road, especially in bad weather conditions. Worn down tires are also more likely to puncture, and you could find yourself stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire. So before you drive, take a moment to quickly inspect your tires. Do they look bald? Do you notice any obvious signs of wear? If you do, make an appointment for a tire replacement as soon as you’re able. This guide has more information on how to visually inspect your tires.
Your Wipers and Lights
While your tires help to protect you against bad weather, they don’t do it alone. Your main line of defense is your wipers and your lights. When the rain starts coming down, or the sky grows dark, you’ll want both of these to be in perfect working condition. So, before you hop into the driver’s seat, lean over your hood and inspect the wiper blades. If they look broken or worn down, it’s time to get some replacements. Then, once you get inside the car, flick the lights on to ensure they’re working properly before you head out.
The last major thing you should check on your car before you drive is the brakes. While it’s certainly annoying if your car won’t start, you have a much larger problem if it doesn’t stop. Before you work your car up to a high speed, perform some checks on the brakes. Does the pedal feel responsive, or squishy? Do you hear any odd noises when you apply the brakes? Does your car shake? If you’re noticing any sort of problem with your brakes as you drive, schedule an appointment to have them checked out as soon as you’re able.
Another thing you can look for before you drive is actually something you don’t need your eyes for. Many car-related problems come with an odd odor, and using your nose before you drive could help you to notice the problem. For instance, if you smell something burning, there’s a chance that you’re leaking oil onto something hot within the car. Do a quick snick before you enter the car and make sure you don’t notice anything funny. It’s also a good idea to do this after you drive, as driving around can often make the problem more noticeable to your nose.
Making sure it’s safe to drive your car isn’t all about your car. There are some outside factors you’ll want to consider too. One such factor is the weather. Trying to drive during a bad storm is dangerous, and should be avoided when possible. Before you grab your keys to leave your home, take a moment to check out the weather. Just because it’s nice out now, doesn’t mean it will be in a few hours. If there are any large storms on the way, consider cancelling your plans and remaining safe inside.
Your Ability to Drive
Finally, the last thing you can check is your own ability to drive. Even if your car is fine and the roads are clear that doesn’t mean it’s always safe to drive. For instance, if you’ve had a few drinks, you’re under the weather, or if you didn’t sleep the night before because your newborn kept you up all night, it may not be safe to drive. You need to honestly assess your own ability to drive, or you run the risk of injuring yourself or others.
In fact, according to these wrongful death lawyers in New York, “DUI accidents occur…on a daily basis. Despite harsh penalties for those caught drinking and driving, the trend continues. Irresponsible drunken drivers are constantly taking lives and leaving their victims to pick up the pieces. Each day in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 28 people die in an automobile accident because of a drunken driver. This amounts to a person dying once every 53 minutes.”
Unless you want to be one of these people, make sure that you’re not only sober enough to drive, but awake and alert enough.
Don’t Drive if it Isn’t Safe
Too many times people check on the conditions mentioned above, find a problem, and decide to drive anyway. Maybe you notice your wipers are broken but think it doesn’t look like it will rain. Then you end up staying out longer than expected, and when you turn to go back home, a thunderstorm has arrived.
The best thing you can do is be honest with the problems you find, and if it isn’t safe to drive, don’t. Find a ride instead or reschedule your plans. In the end your safety is more important, so perform the checks mentioned above, and deal with the problem accordingly.