Many of us are taught to do a 360 check of our cars before driving anywhere, but how many of us actually do it? Judging by the copious number of preventable accidents and incidents, not nearly enough.
Checking just a few things in and on your car before every trip can significantly help you reduce your likelihood of finding yourself in a dangerous – or at least regrettable – situation.
Here’s what to look at, and look for, before you head out.
Start by doing a complete walk around your car to look at your tires. You don’t have to whip out a pressure gauge every time you’re going to drive, but you should at least do a visual inspection to see if any of your tires are visibly deflated. It may not seem like a big deal, but if your tire pressure is too low, too much of the tire will be in contact with the road. This causes an increase in friction, which could cause the tire to overheat and even blow, which could result in an accident.
Anyone who has ever – or ever almost – ran into another car because the driver’s brake lights weren’t working can tell you how important properly functioning lights are. Do a quick light check before you drive, checking to make sure head and tail lights are all in working order.
Engage those glutes and quads to squat down and check for leaks. Leaks could cause engine, steering, brakes, or radiator failure.
While you’re checking for leaks is also the ideal time to make sure you’re clear to back out of your driveway or parking space. Kids toys, animals or debris can easily accumulate behind your vehicle without you noticing.
4) Seat Adjustment
Most of us can tell if someone else was driving our car: the seat will often be too close or far away from the pedals and steering wheel. However, sometimes another driver has made subtle adjustments that aren’t obvious at first, but can become annoying and even dangerous on the road. Comfortable and safe driving means your seats should be adjusted to fit your body so that you can properly operate the vehicle.
Make sure the seat is adjusted for you, every time. No excuses. Even if a car seat cover has made adjusting the seat difficult — though, admittedly, you should really be using quality custom car seat covers, like the ones from My Custom Car. These are designed for your make and model of vehicle, so you will still have full access to your car’s levers and other safety features, like airbags.
Those warning lights on your dashboard are there for a reason, so pay attention to them! In rare occasions, a sensor can be tripped by mistake, but most of the time, they are trying to tell you something. Gas, oil, coolant and tire pressure are warning lights with which we are all fairly familiar, but if you see a symbol you don’t recognise, break out your owner’s manual and see what’s up — right away. Waiting or ignoring the problem could be disastrous.
It will take you less than five minutes to check these five things, so don’t make excuses. If you have to plan to leave a little earlier, do it: it could be the difference between arriving safely and not arriving at all.