How Vehicle Maintenance and Defensive Driving Keep You Safe On the Road

Written by a Guest Blogger

Are you a defensive driver? Have you never been in an accident? Chances are you have some of the skills needed to be a great defensive driver. One who travels through lanes with the greatest of ease, and avoids accidents ahead, behind and to the side. But did you know that there are many ways to prevent car accidents?

Proper vehicle maintenance is one of the most common reasons for accidents on the road today, besides distracted drivers of course. Truck accidents are common due to malfunctioning equipment and cargo shifting due to improper loading. Cars with underinflated or bald tires can cause accidents during sudden losses of tire pressure too. Vehicle lighting is also a contributing factor in accidents. In rain, snow, or fog proper lighting is essential to keeping your vehicle on the road. So what can you do to help prevent these accidents?

  1. Do a vehicle check before you go on a trip. Check for leaks, low tires, replace wiper blades, test lights and ensure all check engine lights are addressed.
  2. Ensure your vehicle is worked on by certified professionals.
  3. Take your tires seriously! Check tire pressure at least once per month.
  4. If you are loading cargo ask a professional to review your packing and securing method before you get on the road.
  5. Check out the cars around you and watch for vehicles that do not appear to have taken these steps to keep themselves safe. Keep your distance from these vehicles.

Additionally there are defensive driving techniques which go above and beyond vehicle maintenance. There’s no way to ensure other cars on the road are performing their own proper vehicle maintenance, so use these defensive driving tips to read a vehicles “body language” and avoid accidents which may ultimately save your life. You don’t want to find yourself in a vehicle accident anytime soon.

Plan Ahead

A large part of avoiding an accident is planning ahead. Think about how you will react to a car suddenly entering your lane, or an out of control vehicle speeds by you. Put yourself in these hypothetical situations and think through how you would reach in that situation. Being prepared for the unexpected is key to your survival in the car.

Read Car Body Language

Just like with people you can read body language from a car. You may observe a car that is swerving slightly into one lane or the other, signaling they will eventually need to get into that lane. You may observe a car increasing its rate of speed as it enters the freeway, make room for them because you know they will need to get over – regardless if they see you or not. Look for these signs as they can help aid in understanding where a neighboring car will soon go, which may affect your driving.

It’s important for teens and individuals in their 20s to work on their defensive driving skills such as reading car body language. In the state of Illinois in 2011 the incidence of individuals fatally injured in car crashes was highest for individuals 19-29 than any other age group as reported by the DOT. Car accident lawyers in Chicago are adamant that defensive driving is essential for Chicagoans and other drivers in large metro areas.

Be Alert and Avoid Distractions at All Times

Texting while driving is a huge no-no. So is eating while driving and any other distraction while on the road. Limit your distractions and pay attention at all times. There’s no excuse for being distracted on the road, and proper defensive driving does not allow for distractions. Stay alert and you’ll stay safe.

Don’t make assumptions about other drivers while on the road and their intentions. Don’t expect parked cars to stay parked all the time. Don’t’ expect people to yield at interactions all the time or remain in the same lane when they are supposed to. When you’re on the road you risk being caught off guard and should prepare for that at all times.

 

 

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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