Six Steps to Ensure your Car is Safe to Drive

Article submitted by Lucy Wyndham

Being involved in a car accident is one of the most devastating experiences anyone can ever encounter. In 2016 14,241 people were injured in car accidents in Morris County according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Actively practicing high levels of road safety is imperative as is ensuring your vehicle is safe to take to the roads as well. Whether you are planning to take an extended trip or simple drive around town on a daily basis, a regular inspection of your vehicle is a must. By following six simple steps you will increase your own safety and that of other Parsippany road users significantly.

Check for fluid underneath your car

Before embarking on a journey take a few seconds to check under your car to make sure none of the vital fluids are leaking. If you happen to find a leak, try to identify it before driving the car. A leak can be completely harmless (air conditioner water) or more serious (oil, transmission fluid or brake fluid) and should never be ignored. If you can’t make a positive identification yourself, pop into one of the many gas stations or reputable auto repair shops situated in Parsippany for assistance.

As well as in your car

Sufficient brake fluid in a car is pivotal for its safe operation and should be topped-up regularly and flushed every 36,000 miles. If your car doesn’t have enough brake fluid the brakes will not operate as required and can cause a nasty accident as a result. Although most modern-day cars use power steering, many drivers do not check their power steering levels regularly. When this liquid becomes contaminated your steering wheel can become less responsive which can proof to be extremely dangerous when driving. Make it a point to have the power steering fluid replaced every 18 to 24 months.

Check the brakes

Experiencing a car accident due to brake failure, whether due to a manufacturing defect or poor maintenance is not something anyone should have to endure. It is estimated that up to 5% of car crashes in the US every year are caused by brake failures, equating to a massive 300,000 accidents per year. As already mentioned make sure you always have sufficient brake fluid in your car. Your braking system is not made to last forever and should be replaced periodically. If you notice any problems with your brakes while driving have them checked immediately because if they fail you could end up having a very serious accident.

Check your tires

Your tires are the only part of your car that are in contact with the road, which is why it is extremely important to check your tires regularly for any signs of damage. When you inspect your tires, make sure to check for uneven wear, punctures, and embedded nails. If you have a tire that appears damaged, have it seen to at one of the tire repair centres around town such as Firestone, Mavis Discount Tires and Tire Tech and Auto Repair. Don’t forget to have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles to extend their life and replaced every 50,000 miles or sooner if you notice any significant damage.

Inspect your lights and signals

It is very important to physically check all your signals and lights, noting if any are dirty, broken or cracked. Check your reverse lights, taillights, headlights, brake lights and turning signals. It is especially important to check where your headlights point as misaligned headlights can be hazardous to other road users, causing major accidents. Headlights that shine too low will limit how far you can see at night, which can prove to be very unsafe, especially in the quieter parts of Parsipanny with limited street lights. Faulty turning signals are equally dangerous – just imagine the consequences of changing lanes on the freeway without signalling your intention to do so.

Check seat belts and baby chairs

There is no denying that seat belts save lives. According to the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety, as many as 132 unrestrained drivers and passengers are killed in crashes in the state each year. Physically check your seatbelts and baby seats at regular intervals, looking for any signs of wear and tear. Get any problems seen to immediately as no driver or passenger, regardless of age, should ever be in a moving vehicle without being restrained properly.

With the freedom associated with obtaining a drivers license comes an immense amount of responsibility. By regularly following the steps above to ensure your vehicle remains roadworthy, coupled with safe driving techniques, you will be able to decrease your risk of being involved in a car accident substantially.