When discussing safety on the roads, most attention goes to drivers and their behaviors.
And that’s not unreasonable considering that this is the part of driving safely that needs the most work. Unfortunately, many people choose to drink, text, make aggressive maneuvers, and carry out a variety of other unsafe activities on the road. Still, there is another component to staying safe that many people don’t pay attention to. It is vehicle maintenance, which is frequently forgotten about in day to day life. We detail some of the most important aspects of it and explain why it matters in the sections below.
One of the critical factors in avoiding accidents is being able to stop your car quickly. The reason is that a significant proportion of collisions happen at intersections or when cars suddenly come to a halt. The following are typical examples of both scenarios.
You’re at the front of a line of cars waiting at a red light. The light turns green, so you start to accelerate. Then, you notice that another vehicle is running a red light from the opposite way. You hit your brakes hard and come to a stop, narrowly avoiding an accident in the process.
In this situation, you’re driving the speed limit on the freeway. Suddenly, with no warning at all, the car in front of you slams on their brakes. You do the same, and because your pads are in working order, you leave the area unscathed.
In both of the examples above your first line of defense is you. If you’re texting or distracted in some other way, you have no shot at avoiding a collision. Alternatively, if you’re paying attention, you’ll apply your brakes. What happens then is you losing control of the situation. Now, it is up to the machinery of your car to keep you safe. One of the crucial aspects of that machinery is your brakes. When they are in working order, you will stop quickly. If they aren’t, you will travel slightly farther before coming to a halt. Now, this difference could be insignificant, depending on the exact conditions of your scenario. Still, a few inches is the difference between a collision and safety more often than you might think.
Brakes aren’t the only thing that stops your vehicle. In fact, all brakes do is prevent the tires from turning. Once that happens, you start to rely on friction. The simple fact is that bald tires do not provide enough resistance to stop your vehicle safely. Instead, you might skid, even if the conditions of the road and weather are perfect. Another area that friction is critical in is making your car turn correctly. Doing so helps you avoid rolling over, which is one of the most dangerous types of accidents.
Tires are especially crucial in areas that experience inclement weather. The reason is that wet conditions caused by rain and snow decrease the friction between your tires and the road. This effect can lead to skidding when turning and braking, which frequently causes collisions. The last important note on maintenance is that it prevents you from blowing out your tires or having them go flat, both of which are dangerous.
Another factor that is immensely important is tire pressure. There are two kinds of issues associated with this type of maintenance.
Overinflation – The primary outcome of this mistake is a tire that is too rigid, which has dangerous consequences. First, overinflated tires are prone to blowing out. This means that if you get a flat, there is a chance it will be severe, rather than manageable. The second outcome is less rubber touching the ground throughout your drive, which leads to less friction and more danger.
Under inflation – Too little air in your tires does the opposite in that it leads to having more rubber touching the ground than a conventional tire. The result is less control and a tire that is prone to wearing down quickly.
The result of poor tire pressure maintenance is lack of control, which is a significant concern in the world of vehicle safety. This factor should motivate you to do regular pressure checks and confirm that you’re at the right level.
When it’s sunny for days at a time, you forget all about your wiper blades. Then, as the Florida rain comes, you start to use them almost every day. When you do so, pay attention to how effective they are. The reason is that most people do not stay on top of the condition of their blades. Instead, they allow this safety feature to weaken over time until it is practically useless. Doing so results in ineffective windshield clearing. Throughout this article, we’ve been discussing the fact that you need your car to respond correctly once you make a maneuver. The issue with wiper blades comes earlier in the process, as you must see danger before you can avoid it. Poor blades will obstruct your vision and not allow for that to happen.
One of the most reliable predictors of car accident frequency is the conditions that someone drives in. If they choose to only drive on clear, sunny days, there is a good chance that they’ll avoid a collision. On the other hand, those that navigate the roads at night or in poor weather tend to find themselves in crashes. This trend does not mean that you cannot drive when light is low, though. Instead, make sure that your headlights are in working order and can make up for the suboptimal conditions that surround you.
Additionally, it is best to do checks on your tail and brake lights. The primary reason is communication. You must tell the cars behind you two things. First, that you are there at all. Drivers sometimes do not detect cars car in low light conditions and will plow right into them without bright indicators. Second, you want to use brake lights to show other drivers that you are stopping. If you don’t, they will realize that you are slowing down too late, and likely end up rear-ending you.
Have you ever had your power steering fail? If you have, you know just how hard it is to operate a vehicle without it. If you haven’t, just imagine that your wheel is ten times more difficult to turn. What is unfortunate about this danger is that people tend to wait a long time before solving it because, though it is inconvenient, it does not compromise the primary functions of the car.
Unfortunately, not fixing power steering can lead to collisions. The reason, again, comes down to control. Power steering allows for drivers of any level of strength to quickly turning the wheel, which can be critical in avoiding danger. Those that do not have this function will struggle to make maneuvers rapidly, and the result could be costly.
Car manufacturers spend years planning and testing every little piece of their vehicles. Still, you cannot predict every outcome, and sometimes car owners start to complain about specific parts. A few issues here and there do not lead to a recall, but once massive numbers of consumers begin to experience the same problem, car companies usually try and make things right by replacing parts for free. A few typical examples include sticky accelerators, defective airbags, and cracking tires. These parts get recalled because they present a safety hazard for drivers, and the manufacturer wants to provide some protection. Your best bet for staying safe is trusting that a part is recalled for a good reason and going to get it replaced as soon as possible.
Why Vehicle Maintenance Matters
There are two reasons why vehicle maintenance is so essential. The first factor is so obvious that we won’t spend too much time on it. It is avoiding accidents, which protects your health and property.
The less obvious aspect is liability, which will be crucial if you or another party pursues a lawsuit after an accident. One of the first steps in this legal process is accessing which driver was liable. Doing so tells the attorneys involved who should pursue compensation from who. One factor that could tip the scales one way or another is the condition of each vehicle. If the other driver’s brakes are long overdue and that was a primary cause in the accident, they could be found liable for the damages you suffer.
Car accidents are such a common and deadly occurrence that putting some effort into avoiding them is a smart decision. One way you can do so is through behavioral adjustments, which will go a long way in keeping you safe.
Another is by regularly maintaining your vehicle, so it will act as it should when you need it the most. Not only will this maintenance keep you from getting into most collisions, but it will also clear you of liability if you happen to get into a crash. This outcome will be critical if you decide to pursue compensation later on in the process.