Back in the days of driver’s education, we all heard the same tips to make our cars safer to drive. Wear a seatbelt, perform regular car maintenance, make sure your tires have enough traction, and check your windshield wiper fluid. These are all key tools that keep your car ready for the open road, but they aren’t the only ways to make your car safer. Here are a few strategies you might not have thought of before.
Adjust Your Seat
Airbags prevent nearly 45,000 deaths a year. However, if you are not seated correctly in your car, this safety device can cause injuries and even death. Keeping the seat too close to the steering wheel is one source of potential danger. You should be no closer than ten inches to the steering wheel. If you find that you can’t reach the pedals if you are further back, consider reclining the seat instead of pulling it back.
Cleaning the Interior of Your Car
A dirty car isn’t just unpleasant—it’s unsafe too. When you get in a car crash, anything that’s not secured will usually continue to travel at the same speed a car was just moving at. In other words, clutter in your car will go flying, posing a risk to you and your passengers. This is especially true in the event of a rollover. Clutter in the driver’s seat also runs the risk of rolling under the pedals, which prevents them from working properly.
However, there are unseen dangers in a dirty car as well. We spend hours upon hours in our car every year, yet despite all that time and activity, we often don’t take the time to wipe down surfaces or vacuum seats. This can cause bacteria such as mold, E. coli, and Staphylococcus to form, according to one study. Taking the time to clean your car’s interior isn’t just about not being embarrassed when guests get in your car—it’s essential to your safety.
Sand in the Winter
If you have a car with rear-wheel drive and you live in a climate where it snows, you probably know the danger of spinning out more than most people. Luckily, there are ways to make spin-outs less likely. Obviously, installing snow tires or snow chains and practicing defensive driving practices are a must, but adding a few bags of sand to the back of your car can also help prevent spinouts. Sandbags won’t keep cars with front and all-wheel drive from spinning out, but keeping a small amount of sand or kitty litter in the car can be a Godsend if your car gets stuck in a snowbank. The extra traction may be just what you need to get out safely.
We all learned valuable ways to make our cars safer in driver’s education, but our knowledge of car safety doesn’t have to end there. The more we drive, the more tips and tricks we learn to keep our cars and roads safer.