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How to Keep Your Family Safe in Your Vehicle

  • By Craig Kidwell
  • 07 Feb, 2018
How to Keep Your Family Safe in Your Vehicle
Keeping your family safe while your vehicle is in motion requires a multi-faceted approach. You must be responsible for maintaining the safety features in your own vehicle while being acutely aware of possible issues with surrounding vehicles.

This dual awareness also involves mindfulness of your own driving habits as well as those of the drivers with whom you share the road. Be sure to keep distractions to a minimum in order to focus on safety for yourself, your family, and the occupants of other vehicles. Here are a few tips to help you.

Basic Safety Features and Practices

You must be able to see clearly and be seen by other drivers to be able to react to possible safety concerns. This means clear windows and functional lights.

Clear Windows 

Change windshield wiper blades if smearing, streaking, or stuttering leaves an opaque film when the wipers are being used. Keep wiper fluid levels full, especially during the winter, when road salt spray combined with rush-hour sunrises and sunsets can leave you temporarily blinded in the middle of a highway.

Also, be sure to turn on the headlights when you activate the wipers, both for you and other temporarily visually impaired drivers.

Functional Lights

Your vehicle's lights allow you to both see the road and be seen by other drivers, so it's essential that all of your lights are functioning properly. You can barely see the road if one headlight isn't working on a road without streetlights, and the appearance of your one-eyed vehicle may be disorienting to approaching drivers.

Functioning brake lights are extremely important. You risk the danger of being struck from behind by a speeding vehicle if you make a sudden stop and your brake lights don’t work. Drivers are mentally conditioned to equate red brake lights with slowing or stopping, and they may be following too closely to stop when they realize that your brake lights aren't operational.

Awareness of this potential issue should be a reminder to maintain a safe distance of about three seconds or more depending upon road conditions. You should keep a safe distance both for the possibility of brake light issues in preceding vehicles and for distractions that can affect your own stopping time.

Basic Safe Driving Practices

Safe driving depends on both the driver and the conditions inside the vehicle. Make sure every occupant of the moving vehicle wears a seat belt. Make sure the front airbags are unobstructed by accessories and side airbags are free of impairment through improperly installed seat covers.

When you’re driving, wear sensible shoes to ensure proper access to the control pedals. Heels and slippers are both unwise choices in footwear for safe driving because of their instability.

Never put plastic floor mats over the factory-installed driver's side mats because they can slip and block access to control pedals.

Clutter

Stuffed animals or decor on the dashboard or rear window can impair vision and cause a distraction if they become airborne. Empty bottles and cans may roll under the brake pedal and cause an accident.

Make sure any tools and other loose items in the rear of a vehicle are secure at all times. Any type of unsecured item becomes a potential projectile in the event of an accident.

Distractions

Although many jurisdictions have imposed penalties for hand-held cell phone use and texting while driving, there is no penalty as devastating as remorse experienced by a driver whose immaturity over cell phone use results in loss of life.

Even a few seconds of distracted driving can cause a serious accident. If you can’t wait to answer a call or text, pull over to a safe place.

If a fellow driver stops and starts suddenly, weaves in and out of their lane, or repeatedly slows to a crawl and suddenly speeds up again, they are likely texting or otherwise distracted. Keep your distance until you are away from the vehicle in question, even if you must reduce your own speed or change lanes. A temporary inconvenience is better than a safety risk for yourself and your family.

If you're injured in an accident in the Elko, Nevada, area despite your constant vigilance, contact Kidwell & Gallagher LTD for prompt and efficient legal help.

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