Know Your Car: the Best Way to Avoid a Collision

There are many hazards on the road– some that are apparent, some that aren’t. Being aware of road conditions is important, especially when driving in the winter. However, it’s just as necessary to be aware of your vehicle’s limitations and condition.

Here are some tips to avoid common road hazards and serious car accidents:

  • Use your headlights as often as you need, even during the day
  • Know your car’s blind spots and make sure to compensate for them
    • It never hurts to check your mirrors and the traffic around you: being aware of your surroundings can save you from a serious car accident
  • Make sure you know your tire pressure and keep it to your car’s standard
  • Keep your distance in traffic
    • Leaving extra room, even a car-length, between your vehicle and the one in front of you can give you valuable time to avoid an accident
    • Take into account the size (and load) of your vehicle when considering how much distance to keep: heavier cars need longer distances to stop completely
  • Know your vehicle’s center of gravity
    • Your car’s center of gravity is important when stowing items– an incorrectly packed car can not only pose visibility issues, but it can also affect your car’s braking capacity and steering control
  • Control your speed: don’t let other drivers dictate your speed on the road. Drive only as required on road signs and be sure to stay in your—and your car’s– comfort zones

Driver negligence, usually resulting in accidents, comes in a variety of forms: blatant errors such as texting/calling  while driving and overly aggressive driving are common causes of accidents, but far from the only ones.  Making yourself a safer driver is the first step to avoiding a potentially serious accident on the road. Avoid being absorbed by distractions like your cell phone, the radio, or passengers in your car. Ensure that your car is operating correctly.  Know your tire pressures, know your blind spots, know your vehicle’s center, and know its stopping distance.  Knowing your vehicle is just as important as knowing your surroundings; a safe car is one less thing to worry about on the road.