Cars are a necessity for many people and certainly make life easier, but they can also be very dangerous. Being a responsible driver and car owner can not only save your life, but also save the lives of others around you. Here are some important tips to remember to make the road safer for everyone.
Even a small amount of alcohol (and many drugs, including prescribed and over-the-counter medications) can affect your ability to drive.
Seat belts save countless lives and only require a second to put on. Be sure you and every person in the car are buckled up. If you are traveling with a young child, make sure he or she is properly buckled into a car seat (and that the car seat is the right one for the child's age and size.)
If you have a cell phone or CB, try to use it for emergencies only. If you must talk on it, pull over to the side of the road until the call is over or use it in hands-free mode. Similarly, pull over to the side of the road if you have to check a map or written directions. Listening to the radio and talking to passengers is fine, but just make sure they don't draw your eyes and attention away from the road and other cars.
Make sure your car is serviced regularly and that you have enough gas to get where you're going and back. Be sure your car includes a spare tire, jumper cables, flares, and an emergency kit. Visit the Home Safety: Emergency Kits class on this Web site for more information.
Park in well-lit areas as close to entrances as possible. If you're parking in daylight, but coming back for your car at night, think about how the area may look in the dark. Have your keys in hand as you approach your car and check around your car and in the back before getting in. Also remember that parking lots are where most fender-benders occur, so look around carefully before pulling in and out of parking spaces.
Roll up the windows and lock car doors when you park, even if you're coming right back. Also keep doors locked when driving and valuables (such as car phones, wallets, and purchases) out of sight. If you are in slow or stopped traffic, be sure your window isn't rolled down so far that someone can reach into your car.
Be sure you know how to get to your destination before you leave. Bring any medicine you may need and spare water and food. Stay on main roads if you can and let people know where you will be going, what route you will be taking, and when you plan to arrive.
If someone tries to flag you down, drive on until you come to a gas station or somewhere busy, and call the police.
Drive to the nearest police station, fire station, gas station, or other open business to get help.
Be careful of passing cars when getting out of the car. Never try to cross a major highway. Find a telephone and call the police (for an accident) or a local service station.
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