We discuss many car safety concerns such as distracted driving and drunk driving. These driving behaviors increase the risk of being involved in a traffic accident. However, there are some common car safety concerns that we overlook that can also cause serious car accidents. Four car safety concerns that we need to be aware of include:
Driving at Night
Night driving is usually more dangerous than driving during the daytime for the simple reason that our visibility decreases with the decrease in light. It is much more difficult to see road hazards, including potholes, construction, debris, stranded vehicles, and animals. In addition, the glare of headlights from oncoming vehicles can temporarily blind drivers causing a driver to collide with another vehicle or object. Furthermore, drivers may be drowsier at night and more likely to fall asleep while driving.
Some tips for nighttime driving to reduce your risk of a car accident include:
- Check headlights to ensure they are working correctly and set at the correct height.
- Get at least seven hours of sleep each night to avoid drowsy driving.
- Make sure you have your vision checked regularly to determine if you need corrective lenses for nighttime driving.
- Keep your windshield and windows clean.
- Reduce your speed in areas where there is very little light, such as country roads and mountain roads.
Your vehicle could have a manufacturer’s recall that you are unaware of, especially if you purchased a used vehicle. Some recalls may not impact your ability to operate the vehicle safely. However, many recalls cover parts and systems that are essential for safe driving, including brakes, steering system, seat belts, air bags, etc.
Regardless of how minor a recall may appear, it is always best to have the repair made as soon as possible. Your local car dealer should be able to handle the repair free of charge for you. You can use the NHSTA’s VIN recall search tool to determine if your vehicle is under recall.
Failure to Maintain Your Vehicle
A well-maintained vehicle is much safer than a vehicle that is not maintained or serviced. However, many drivers fail to perform general maintenance or schedule tune-ups. If you want to reduce your risk of a car accident, you should make sure that you have your vehicle regularly inspected for problems. You should also regularly inspect your tires, hoses, wipers, lights, and other items that must be replaced when they are worn.
Edmunds provides a car maintenance guide that can be very helpful for drivers who are not familiar with the recommended maintenance scheduled for their vehicle.
Teen drivers are not inherently poor drivers. However, they are inexperienced drivers. Many teen drivers have very little driving experience other than the required number of driving hours and driver’s training to obtain a Pennsylvania driver’s license. There are many situations that teen drivers encounter that driver’s training does not address.
Parents should continue riding with their teen driver and reminding their teen driver of safe driving practices including:
- No cell phone use or use of other electronics while driving
- Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt
- Slow down in hazardous driving conditions such as heavy traffic, rain, snow, and ice
- Always obey the speed limit and other traffic laws
- Limit the number of passengers to a safe limit
AAA provides resources and information for teen drivers and parents on its website.