There are a lot of things that impact someone’s decision of what car to choose. Engine size, trunk space, insurance costs and more will all probably factor into your choice of vehicle. And these are all extremely important. But when people are choosing a car, they always tend to focus on the factors that will impact their lifestyle and finances. There’s one thing that even the most studious car buyer will often forget, which is particularly bad considering how important it really is. That thing is, of course, safety. The safety of a car is something that often gets ignored, not because people don’t care about staying safe behind the wheel but because it’s something that the vast majority of us take for granted. You just sort of assume that modern cars are built to be as safe as possible. And that’s a pretty solid assumption. But that doesn’t mean that the safety of your vehicle is something that you should take for granted. In fact, there’s a whole host of things that you can do to increase the safety of your vehicle so that you make sure that you and your passengers are as safe and secure as possible.

Check your levels

Car Oil Change

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Most of us are pretty good at keeping an eye on our fuel levels, the little dial in the middle of our dashboard usually helps with that, but you should remember that that’s not the level you should regularly be checking. Your oil is probably just as, if not even more important, and yet it’s shocking how many people don’t know how actually to check or refill it. The same goes for your coolant and screenwash levels. These things might not seem that important, but that last thing you want is for your engine to overheat or to find yourself completely unable to see through the windscreen. Make sure that you’re checking all of these levels as often as possible, the last thing you want is to discover that you’ve run out of something important half way through a long drive.

The penny test

This is one of the simplest and most useful hacks for making sure that your car is driving as safely as possible. Take a penny and point old Honest Abe head first into the tread of your tire. Does the tire cover his head? Perfect. You don’t need to worry about a thing. But if it doesn’t cover him then your tyres tread is worn down, and you need to replace them as soon as possible. Tires with worn down treads aren’t going to grip the road, and your chances of skidding and crashing will go up significantly, especially in wet weather.

Kill your speed

Road Sign: Slow Down

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This one is so obvious that a lot of people might wonder why it even needs mentioning. Well, it does, in fact, need mentioning because, despite how obvious it might be, it’s still something that far too many people tend to ignore. The vast majority of accidents that result in injury could have been far less serious if those involved has just reduced their speed by a little bit. The best thing to do is to take a “no excuses” approach to your speed. You might sometimes feel as though you know where you’re driving so well that you can practically predict what’s coming around the corner. But the most important thing to remember is that you never actually know what’s coming. In fact, the majority of accidents actually happen very near to the driver’s home. This is because of that overconfidence. If you feel too confident, you’re going to start making mistakes that you’d otherwise avoid. No matter where you are or how much distance you have left to cover, keep your speed below the limit and keep your wits about you, that way you’ll massively reduce your need for an accident lawyer.

Keep distractions to a minimum

Keep your phone somewhere where you can’t see or hear it. This might seem like going overboard a little bit, but the last thing you need is anything distracting you from the road. Remember, you only need to look away from a moment for something to happen. It might even be a good idea to turn your phone off completely when you’re driving. After all, there’s no reason for you to be using it while driving and any calls can wait until you reach your destination. The same goes for your GPS and music. Try to reduce all of those distractions as much as you can. Believe it or not is as actually shown that fast music has an impact on your speed behind the wheel. So even if you love your driving tunes, maybe trade them in for something a little more relaxing and less exciting.

Be ready for weather changes

Driving in Weather & Traffic

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The biggest mistake that a lot of drivers make is that they assume that the methods that they use to stay safe will be the same no matter what the weather conditions are like. Depending on the weather conditions where you live it’s probably a good idea to invest in some snow chains since even the best tyres can struggle to get through the slush and sleet without skidding around. Snow chains are exactly what they sound like, chains that go around your tires and help them to grip the road more strongly. You should also be ready to adjust your driving based on the weather as well. If it looks as though there’s going to be a lot of snow, rain or ice on the roads, then give yourself plenty of extra time on your journey so that you can take it slow and steady. Better to arrive a little bit late to your destination than not to arrive at all.

Always stock an emergency kit

The last thing you want is to get stuck out on the road with no way of dealing with your current predicament. Every single car should have a fully stocked emergency kit in the trunk. It should contain a first aid kit, a flashlight, a reflective jacket and a spare cell phone. You might think that last one isn’t necessary, we all have cell phones right? But this way you never get stuck in the awful situation of your phone dying right at the moment when you need it most. A tire jack and jumper cables are also essential. Things like this can let you get your care up and running again without having to wait for roadside assistance for any length of time. A scraper and a small shovel are also a good idea, if not necessarily essential. That way you’re able to get yourself unstuck even when you’re dealing with the harshest weather conditions.

Check your lights

The amount of people who seem to be driving around with faulty lights is honestly ridiculous. Without your lights, there’s no way that any other drivers are going to see you in the dark, let alone in harsh conditions like rain, snow, and thick fog. Not only that but you should always make sure that your brake lights are functioning properly. Without them, the driver behind you may not be able to tell that you’re stopping and could well end up slamming into the back of you, potentially injuring themselves and you. Before you set off anywhere, just turn your lights on and do a quick check. Taking this tiny bit of extra time make life far easier than if you realize that one of your lights isn’t working at the moment when you really need it.

WEAR YOUR SEATBELT

Come on. It’s 2017; it’s ridiculous that there are people who still think that they don’t need to wear a seatbelt. Every single piece of evidence shows that they really do save lives and there really is no excuse not to wear yours. It’s not cool, it’s stupid, and it puts your life in real danger.

Some of these things might seem like they’re going overboard a little bit but ask yourself, isn’t any extra safety worth putting in a little bit more effort? After all, no matter what you’re like as a driver, there are always risks when you get out on the road. In a perfect world, everyone would be as careful a driver as you are but sadly that’s just not the case. As much as you might want to, there’s little that you can do to change the weather or prevent other people from driving irresponsibly. The best thing that you can do is make yourself and your car as safe as possible so that, if something does happen, you can be sure that you and anyone riding with you are in as little danger as possible.