So you’ve just financed your own car from Car Credit Tampa. Congratulations! That’s a great purchase that should last you for years to come. It doesn’t take luck to keep your car in one piece. Rather, it takes safe driving and proper maintenance of the car. Here are just a few tips to make sure that you and your car remain healthy and in one piece.
1. Wear your seatbelt.
You’ve probably seen the commercials and the signs that state in no uncertain terms, “click it or ticket”. The police have been cracking down recently on seatbelt use. This, however, is not the reason you should wear your seat belt every single time you’re in a moving car. Drivers who wear a seatbelt are two and a half times more likely to survive a crash than drivers who don’t (1). So to make sure you’re safe, make sure to click it.
2. Buckle in your kids.
As important as it is to buckle up yourself, it’s even more important to buckle in your little ones. One study found that when the driver was wearing a seat belt, children in the car were buckled up 94% of the time. When the driver was unbelted, children were buckled up only 30% of the time (2). Any little bump can distract you from driving, and it only takes a second to get into an accident, so it’s very dangerous to have the kids unbuckled and climbing over seats or sitting in your lap.
3. Don’t text and drive.
Texting while driving is responsible for nearly 25% of all accidents, and is about 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. It makes you about 23 times more likely to crash and is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time. And yet, about 80,000 drivers at any given time across the country are texting and driving (3). This is why you have to be vigilant and drive defensively and without distraction.
4. Avoid drowsy driving.
Sleepiness causes impaired reaction time, judgement and vision; problems with information processing and short-term memory; decreased performance, vigilance and motivation; and increased moodiness and aggressive behaviors. Driving while you’re drowsy can be a dangerous action. To avoid accidents, you should get adequate sleep, schedule proper breaks (about every 100 miles or 2 hours on long trips), drive with a companion, and avoid alcohol or sedating medications. (4)
5. Don’t multitask.
Driver inattention is involved in about 80% of crashes (5). Drivers will do anything from eating lunch to checking email while they’re driving, and it can be a very dangerous combination. Focus on your driving and on driving defensively, and you could avoid potentially fatal accidents.
6. Be aware of the world around you.
Not everyone on the road is in a car. You should watch for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. These people have much less protection than you do, with your seatbelts and the car around you. You should also watch for vehicles that are bigger than yours, such as tractor trailers and 18 wheelers. These vehicles have very large blind spots, so if you can’t see the driver, remember that he can’t see you.
7. Don’t drive under the influence.
Almost every 90 seconds, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash (6). Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of these crashes (7). Driving while drunk or on drugs is unbelievably dangerous and is one of the leading causes of accidents and death in the nation. So remember, always have a designated driver with you, to keep yourself and others safe.
8. Don’t speed.
Many people in the US seem to think that speed limit signs are just suggestions. But speeding is the third leading contributing factor in crashes, occurring in 33% of them. Speeders are often in a rush, not paying attention, or they just don’t think they’ll get caught. 13,000 people die each year because of speeding (8). So remember, that sign is there for a reason, so slow down!
9. Pack an emergency kit.
No matter how safely you drive, sometimes stuff happens. Cars break down, tires pop, and you could get stranded. That’s why you should have a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle. There are any number of kits you can buy, but it’s just as easy to put one together on your own. You can take a look at our Emergency Kit Checklist on what to put in your emergency kit here at CarCreditTampa.com.
10. Keep up proper car maintenance.
Possibly the most important thing you can do to be safe on the road is make sure that your car is taken care of. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you should take care of the various aspects of your car, so make a schedule based on that. Remember, you should keep up your tires (making sure they’re properly inflated and the tread is strong), your oil (you may not need to change it as often as Jiffy Lube says – again, check your manual), your windows (making sure nothing is cracked or broken), your brakes, belts, and battery (checking for wear and tear), and the fluids (power steering, transmission, coolant – all are vital and could be responsible for major problems if they’re leaking or empty). Car Credit Tampa offers a limited maintenance agreement with every car that they sell that will take care of all of your car’s needs for up to a year after you buy from them. It’s just another great thing about buying from a financing company like Car Credit!
- “Statistics Prove Seat Belts Save Lives.” Insurance Journal News. N.p., 8 Feb. 2007. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.
- Cossman, Ron. “Impact of Primary Seat Belt Laws on Motor Vehicle Deaths among Mississippi’s Youth.” Academia.edu. Mississippi Health Policy Research Center, Mar. 2004. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.
- “Texting and Driving Statistics.” Texting and Driving Statistics. TextingThumbbands.com, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.
- Drowsy Driving. National Sleep Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.
- Hamilton, Jon. “Multitasking In The Car: Just Like Drunken Driving.” NPR. NPR, 16 Oct. 2008. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.
- Blincoe, Lawrence, et al. “The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2000.” Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2002. NHTSA FARS data, 2011.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2012.
- “Dangers of Speeding While Driving.” Chucker & Reibach. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.