Safe driving begins before you ever get behind the wheel. If you're not taking care of your car, then you've already heightened your risk of getting into an auto accident. Some of these tips are a little lesser known, others are just common sense, but all of them will help you to keep your car running well, which will help to reduce your risk of getting into an auto accident.
Keep Your Tires Fresh
Old, worn tires can blow out, and blowouts are one of the leading causes of traffic accidents. It might not be as big of a big deal if you get a blow out on the way to the corner store and you're lucky enough to be going a low speed in light traffic, but get a blow out on the freeway and you're looking at a potentially serious accident.
In order to keep your tires fresh, you'll want to use a tread gauge, or barring that, put a penny into the treads, upside down, and see if the top of Lincoln's head disappears into the rubber. If not, it's time to get some new tires.
You should at least replace your tires every six years or so.
Clean Your Battery
All that white flaky stuff that forms around your car battery's connectors needs to be dealt with. Terminals allowed to cake in that acid will corrode and, if they don't cause any serious issues, you're at least running the risk of your battery not lasting as long.
Make sure that your car is turned off, detach the battery, and look for any cracks that may be leaking acid. If you have any cracks, you'll need to replace your battery. If not, a little baking soda and water on a toothbrush will help to scrub the terminals and your cables clean.
Rinse with cool water, dry, lubricate exposed metals with petroleum jelly, and replace your battery. In an emergency, rubber gloves and Coca-Cola can help to rinse dangerous acids away before touching your battery.
Check all Belts and Hoses
Your car is absolutely full of belts and hoses that you need to keep in good shape in order to ensure safe driving. In particular, you're going to need to keep an eye on your timing belt, your radiator hose, coolant transfer hoses, and heater hoses. Look for hardening or softening at every oil change. Any cracks or chafing should be a clear indicator that it's time to have them replaced.
If you're not sure where to find these parts, then your car's operator's manual should have them laid out for you in easy-to-read diagrams. Barring that, you should be able to find images or videos online that will help you to find them.
Driving safe isn't just about what you do behind the wheel. If you've been in an accident lately, then you know that how well you take care of your car is the sort of thing that might be brought up by one or both parties or the insurance company. Proper car maintenance is not only a great way to prevent an accident, it can also help to prove that you're a safe driver if you do get into an accident.