Road Safety Tips: A Few Basics For The End Of Summer
August 17, 2013

Road Safety Tips: A Few Basics For The End Of Summer

Although the nights may be getting longer and colder, there is still a lot of driving to be done before winter hits North America. Keeping your car maintained and staying in a defensive driving mindset are just a couple road safety tips for the end of summer and start of fall.

While controlling the traffic is basically impossible, being able to control your own mindset behind the wheel is very much within reach. It may be hard to do at times, but taking a Zen-like approach to driving will greatly increase road safety for yourself and your fellow motorists.

Defensive driving begins with one simple rule of thumb: don’t reciprocate bad behavior. If another motorist is knowingly (or unknowingly) driving in a provocative manner, simply ignore or avoid their vehicle. Any aggressive response could not only escalate the situation, but also become distracting and dangerous to both yourself and other drivers. The best course of action is to slow down and get out of the way.

Another great way to drive defensively and maintain road safety is to be aware of your surroundings. First, that means keeping distractions to a minimum: avoid texting, eating, playing with the radio, etc. Being aware also means noticing what going on around you or ahead of you. Are the cars up ahead all flashing their brake lights? Is someone driving in your blind spot? Are drivers attempting to merge into your lane?

Not all road safety tips apply to cruising down a street at 45 mph or the interstate 70 mph. Sometimes road safety starts in the garage with a little basic auto maintenance.

One of the simplest ways to perform routine maintenance is to simply check the tires. The sidewall of any car tire should have the recommended tire pressure written on it and it can be easily checked with a hand pressure gauge. Under-inflated tires can reduce gas mileage and be more susceptible to rupturing. On the other hand, over-inflated tires can make a car more likely to hydroplane.

Checking a vehicle’s hoses and belts is another cheap and easy way to prevent headaches and maintain road safety. Hoses allow coolant to travel to and from the engine block, and the belts run the fan that helps cool the system further. If either the hoses or the belts fail, the radiator can overheat, leaving you high and dry.

Hoses and belts should be checked for cracks, damage and loose connections. Moreover, hoses should be firm, not floppy and malleable. If any of the belts looks excessively slick or smooth, remove them to ensure that the material hasn’t started separating. Auto experts say belts should be inspected regularly after 58,000 kilometers.

These simple road safety tips can prevent an accident or severe car damage before it happens and allow you to enjoy the cool nights and upcoming changing colors of autumn leaves.

Image Credit: rnl / Shutterstock

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Brett Smith is a freelance journalist from Buffalo, NY. When not writing about science, medicine or other newsworthy topics, he enjoys Upstate New York by camping and hiking in the summers and snowboarding in the winters. Like most Buffalonians, he eats chicken wings year round.

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