Alert today – Alive tomorrow


Safety is not automatic,
think about it

Automobile Safety

Details About Car Safety Tips

Driving a car becomes so automatic after a while, it’s easy to let safety fall through the cracks. However, even if you’ve never been in an accident before, you shouldn’t lull yourself into a false sense of security, failing to carry out basic safety precautions that could save your life, or those of your passengers. These car safety tips may lower your chance of getting into an accident and allow you to handle small emergencies such as a flat tire.

1. Wear your seat belt properly.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 15,000 lives are saved every year because drivers and passengers are wearing seat belts when they get into an accident. Seat belts keep the vehicle’s occupants in the vehicle in a collision, restrain the strongest parts of the body, spread out the force from the collision, protect the brain and spinal cord and help the body slow down after impact, reducing injuries. In order for a seat belt to work, however, it must be worn properly. Make certain that the shoulder belt rests across your chest and shoulders never across your neck. Don’t put the seat belt under your arms or behind your back. The lap belt should fit snugly over the hips. Seat belt extenders can be bought for larger-sized passengers and drivers that maintain safety while increasing comfort.

2. Make sure that car seats and boosters are properly installed.

Children and babies need special protection in the car to prevent serious injuries and fatalities in The N.H.T.S.A. recommends that children be firmly buckled into a car seat that’s appropriate for the child’s age, height and weight. From birth to 12 months, infants should always ride in a rear-facing car seat; children aged 1-3 years must remain rear-facing until they reach the top height or weight limit permitted by car seat manufacturers. From ages 4-7 years, children should be strapped to a forward-facing vehicle seat with a harness until they outgrow it, and then move up to a booster seat until they are grown enough to safely use an adult seat belt. Keep kids in the backseat at least through age 12. Always consult with the car seat manufacturer’s instructions to install a car seat, or even better, have it properly installed at your local fire station. You can discover additional child car seat inspection stations in the N.H.T.S.A. site.

3. Never text while driving.

How dangerous is it to be diverted by the action of writing, reading or sending text messages while behind the wheel? Car and Driver Magazine ran a test that assessed drivers’ reaction times to brake lights while attempting to text on their cell phones and compared them to those of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the legal driving limit. Driving 70 mph in a straight line, it took an unimpaired driver .54 seconds to brake while a legally drunk driver had an additional four feet. However, if the driver was sending a text, an additional 70 feet were needed to come to a stop. Another study found that texting while driving was the possible cause of over 16,000 road fatalities between 2002 and 2007.

4. Do not try to multitask.

put down the food, makeup and other distractions while driving. While text messages have a dramatic effect on a driver’s ability to stay safe on the street, other distractions take their toll as well. Talking on a cell phone, eating, use of in-vehicle technologies such as navigation systems and other visual, manual and cognitive distractions take the driver’s eyes, hands and attention from the task of driving. Attempt to perform activities like placing your vehicle’s path, picking music and making cell phone calls before you start to drive, and pull over to manage distractions like fights involving children.

5. Be conscious of pedestrians.

bicyclists and motorcyclists. Roads are not just for four-wheeled motor vehicles; even in remote rural areas, there may be pedestrians and bicyclists that are not visible to motorists until they get too close. Always keep safe speeds and take extra caution when moving around blind curves or over hills. Be watchful for pedestrians crossing the street at intersections, especially when turning right, and give cyclists at least half a car’s width when passing. Because motorcycles don’t have seatbelts, it’s all too simple for motorcycle drivers and passengers to be severely injured or killed in a crash. Motorcycle drivers should avoid the blind spots of trucks and be extra cautious of other vehicles on the road. Of course, helmets are a necessity for motorcycle drivers and passengers. Drivers of other vehicles should never pass a motorcycle too close, as a blast of air from the car can cause a motorcycle to shed stability.

6. Pack a climate-appropriate emergency kit.

Roadside emergencies can occur at any moment, and motorists should be prepared with supplies that can assist in getting help, making minor repairs and signaling your vehicle’s presence to other drivers. Consumer Reports recommends a basic kit containing a cell phone, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, hazard triangle, tire gauge, jack and lug wrench, foam tire sealant or plug kit, spare fuses, jumper cables, flashlight, gloves, rags, pencil and paper, disposable flash camera, $20 in small bills and change and an auto-club or roadside assistance card.

You might also want to think about extra clothing, water, and non-perishable emergency food. In cold, snowy conditions, a windshield scraper, tire chains, and tow strap, blanket, chemical hand warmers, small folding shovel and a bag of cat litter (for traction on slick surfaces) can be convenient. You can buy pre-assembled roadside safety kits and augment them with things that meet your requirements.