The safety and well-being of our families is a major concern for many people. While most of us relax inside the comfort and familiarity of our own homes, the world outside can seem like a scary place, fraught with dangers which can appear out of nowhere and leave us, or those we love, devastated. The threats that lurk outside our doors are worthy of consideration, but simple it is well within the means of any individual to protect themselves and their families merely by taking a few simple precautions.
Travel and commuting is an everyday event, and the hustle and bustle of traffic and transit can lead to accident and injury in any number of ways – through the carelessness of others, mechanical failure, and even bad weather conditions. It is important to keep in mind that there are ways to prevent disaster, and many of these safe driving practices are easier than you might think.
Proper Vehicle Maintenance
No matter where or how you drive your car, protecting your family from dangers on the road begins at home. Our vehicles are like our bodies – they require regular care and upkeep. Failure to do so can lead to dangerous driving situations ranging in severity from cruddy windows (decreased visibility) to brake failure. In many cases, preventative measures can be taken that will help preserve the good condition of your vehicle and protect the passengers:
-Keep your vehicle clean. This may sound elementary, but dirt and build up can obscure visibility and lead to structural problems like rust (which can compromise the structural integrity of your car).
-Have a regular, annual tune-up of your entire vehicle. This front-to-rear check-up can be used to identify and address mechanical issues before they become severe and leave you stranded. Routine maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations and fluid checks are also vital to keeping your vehicle in good condition.
-Pay special attention to your tires! As one of the most integral parts of your vehicle, tires are responsible not only for a smooth ride, but for good traction and reliable stopping in emergency situations.
Understanding Traffic Laws and Local Driving Conditions
While it should go without saying that traffic laws are in place for a reason, there are still those individuals that view driving laws more like “good suggestions”. It is our responsibility to always be on the alert while driving, and practice a strong understanding of traffic laws – including speed limits, signage and road conditions (such as construction or utility work).
When traveling outside of your local area, be aware that traffic laws may vary. Some states may not allow U-turns, while others typically post higher speed limits. No additional research or investigation is generally required (unless traveling outside the country); simply pay special attention to any signs or signals while driving in areas where you are unfamiliar.
Weather is always a factor when driving. Considering that accident can happen even under perfect, clear skies, conditions such as rain, snow and even wind can lead to dangerous roads and unpredictable drivers.
The most important thing to remember is to pay attention and try to stay calm and focused. Avoid distractions such as texting and fiddling with the radio. In some cases it may be impossible to avoid an accident, but it never hurts to take the extra step to protect yourself and your loved ones.
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