- Always buckle your safety belts.
- Infants and children should always ride in safety seats in the back seat.
- Infants who are younger than 1 year or weigh less than 20 pounds should be placed in rear facing safety seats.
- Children between ages 4 and 8 or weigh less than 40 pounds should sit in booster seats.
- Children younger than 13 should always sit in the backseat.
- Do not leave loose object in vehicles – they can become hazards in an accident.
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol.
- Follow the speed limit.
- Avoid cell phone conversations while driving. If you must talk while driving, use hands-free devices, although it is best to pull over to make the call.
- Take extra precautions when driving in adverse weather conditions.
- Allow for more brake time and longer distances between vehicles.
- Don’t use cruise control in the snow or rain.
- Make sure your tires are in good condition and have enough traction.
- Make sure your insurance is up to date – most states require drivers to be insured.
- In case of an emergency, always have the following items in the car: tire jack, spare tire, lug wrench, flashlight, fire extinguisher, screw drivers, extra fuses, flares, jumper cables, engine fluids, first aid kit, and blankets.
- Be a defensive driver and always be aware of your surroundings.
- Always turn off your engine when filling your gas tank.
- Change your oil on a regular basis. Check the engine oil levels every time you get fuel, or at least once a week.
- Take extra caution when driving at night. Darkness impairs vision which slows reactions times; objects are more difficult to see; distances are more difficult to judge.
- Turn on headlights at dusk, if not before. Use high beams when other vehicles are not present.
- If you’re in an accident, stay calm, make sure you and your passengers are OK, call the police, exchange insurance information, and call your insurance company to report your claim.
Sources: American Red Cross, Edmunds, Insurance Information Institute, Meinke, AAA
Here you can find a database of automobile-related safety articles. Read up on topics including teen drivers, crash tests, airbags, and tire safety.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Safety
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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety – Safety Issues
Read up on safety issues such as safety belts, truck safety, rollovers, speeding, and impaired driving, and bone up on your facts on these topics by clicking on some of this sites’ many facts sheets.
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