When it comes to driving with your family on board, the only thing that matters is safety. Generally, this comes down to basic safety practices, making sure you are aware of them, and practicing them every time. When it comes to vehicle safety, small steps go a long way. Here are some things to keep in mind, from Autoworks in Ithaca, NY.
See and Be Seen
Visibility, or the lack thereof, is a huge contributor to traffic accidents. Do what you can do to be seen. Be sure all lights are functional, including brake lights, markers, hazard lights, and both headlights. It may not seem like a big deal if one light in a pair is out and the others are working, but it makes you half as visible. Plus, if the other light fails, or the entire vehicle isn’t in the line of sight of other drivers, there’s potential for disaster. Make sure you are also able to see those around you. Don’t obstruct your field of vision from the windshield and other windows. Dirty glass, items hanging from the mirror, dark tint, stickers, items on the dash or in front of the back window, etc. all obstruct your view. Keep it clean and tidy.
Be sure all seatbelts work, car seats are strapped in correctly, and airbags are operational or switched off if the situation calls for it. That equipment is there to keep you safe, but only works if you use it, and use it correctly. Always use safety equipment in the way it was designed to be used, as that’s the only way it’s truly effective.
When there are kids in the car, there’s bound to be a mess. Keep items off the floorboard that could roll underneath a pedal or get in your way. Keep things secured as well, so they don’t go flying in the event of an abrupt turn, stop, or collision. Distractions Cell phones, stereos, DVD players - distractions are prevalent in modern cars, trucks, and SUVs. Add that to the distraction of commotion and multiple people in a vehicle, and you have your work cut out for you. Make sure you have everything set up before you start moving, and pull over if there’s something you really need to do. Otherwise, it can wait.
Keep your vehicle in good working order. Breakdowns, bad tires, bad brakes, blown lights, etc. are all hazards to be taken seriously and have corrected as soon as possible. Many accidents are a result of unpredictable circumstances, so it’s best to have as much control over that as you can.
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