Car safety may not be at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions, but adding certain habits to your road travel regimen could be the best decision you make in 2023 — in fact, it may just save your life.
Each year, approximately 1.3 million people perish in car accidents worldwide. And sadly, car fatalities in the U.S. have steadily increased over the past several years. While recent technologies like lane departure warnings and automatic emergency braking can help mitigate risk, proper planning and prevention can often do more to ensure your safety than even the most advanced accident-avoidance features.
In 2023, resolve to stay safe on the road with these seven travel tips.
1. Go for Regular Checkups
Keeping your car in good working order is key to staying out of harm’s way. All cars, no matter how new or sophisticated, are vulnerable to mechanical breakdowns. Get your vehicle serviced regularly by a qualified mechanic to help maintain proper — and safe — functioning. Your car’s owner’s manual is its roadmap for proper care — an authoritative guide carefully written by the automaker. Check the manual for recommended maintenance intervals and stick to the schedule.
2. Tend to Your Tires
Your tires are where the rubber meets the road — literally. So it’s important to keep them in tiptop shape. Ensure your tires are properly inflated, per the PSI specs for your vehicle, and inspect treads for excessive wear. Improper tire pressure and inadequate tread depth can cause a blowout. Also have your tires rotated regularly to prevent uneven wear and promote consistent performance. Consumer Reports recommends a rotation every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
3. Steer Clear of Distractions
Keeping your attention firmly fixed on the road is essential for safe driving. Many states have passed laws against cell phone use while behind the wheel — and with good reason. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were nearly 39,000 fatal car accidents involving distracted drivers in 2020. Never text, email or check social media while on the road. Instead, stop your vehicle in a safe place for any smartphone tasks that can’t wait until you reach your destination.
4. Think Safety First — Always
Stay alert to your surroundings, especially in unfamiliar places or when using a drive-up ATM. Always park in a well-lit location, roll up your windows and keep your doors locked. If your car has a security system, use it. Never leave your car idling unattended, even if you’re just running into your home or the store for a minute. Don’t leave anything visible that might tempt would-be thieves — like keys, cash or purchases. And always lock valuables in the trunk. Consider having your VIN etched on your windshield, which can make your car a less attractive target to thieves. A vehicle recovery system can track your automobile if it’s stolen by using GPS technology to emit a signal to the authorities.
5. Stock Up for Safety
Emergency supplies may rarely be used on the road, but you’ll thank yourself for stocking up if you ever need to use them. Keep the following items on hand, just in case:
· Jumper cables
· Flashlight with working batteries
· Cell phone charger
· First-aid kit
· Drinking water and shelf-stable snacks
· Spare tire with tripod jack and lug wrench
· Fire extinguisher
In cold weather climates, drivers may also want to consider keeping an ice scraper/snow brush, cat litter (for tire traction), a shovel and warm clothing on hand.
6. Take Your Time
Speed limit signs are there for a reason. Speeding may get you where you’re going faster, but the increased risk of an accident is never worth the short amount of time you’ll save. There’s one sure — and safe — way to push back your arrival time: leave earlier. Also plan your trips to avoid traveling during peak traffic times, if possible. And you should always try to build time into your travel schedule for food stops, bathroom breaks, roadside phone calls and other minor delays.
7. Set Yourself Up for a Safe Trip
Safety begins well before you turn the ignition key. Prior to hitting the road, stow away any loose items that could roll around in the car, and place anything you might need access to within easy reach so you don’t have to fumble for it while driving. And make sure you’re well-rested before embarking on your trip — drowsy driving is dangerous, especially on longer outings.
And Just in Case …
Beyond the benefits of safety precautions, there’s also the comfort of knowing that, in the event something unexpected happens while on the road, you, your family and your vehicle are covered. But not all auto policies are created equal. We Insure’s network of agents offer coverage from a wide range of top carriers, whether you’re traveling by car, motorcycle or RV. We provide greater choice and value for customers — and our highly trained agents can advise you on the types and amounts of auto coverage that will best suit your needs and budget. Contact your local We Insure agent to learn how We Insure can help protect you on the road.
Everyone at We Insure wishes you and your family a happy and safe new year.
The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations. We Insure makes no guarantees of results from the use of this information.