It is good practice to check you’re vehicle out before proceeding out on the road, and know all the safety features of the vehicle that you are operating. It is part of defensive driving to do these checks before you take you’re vehicle on the road.
Vehicle inspection should be first on the list, before proceeding out on the road.
Take out the tire wrench. You are going to need it to check the tires. Hit the tire to make sure there is sufficient air. You may want to carry a tire gauge in you’re car. Do a visable inspection of tires, looking for possible cracks or worn tires.
Are there any visible leaks under the car? Do the signals work? Do the headlights work? (High and low beam.) Do the brake lights work?
Check to make sure there’s enough engine oil; break fluid, and power steering fluid. Also check battery water level and coolant level. Do not open radiator cap! Vehicle must be cooled down first, if parked recently. (caution: see owners manual before opening cap.) Last will be transmission fluid. (Vehicle must be running to read proper level.) (Make sure you’re emergency park brake is applied.)
Now you are ready to enter the car. Go over the safety features of your vehicle. .
- Signals help you warn other drivers, which way you intend to turn.
- Brakes warn other drivers your slowing down or stopping.
- Horn warns other drivers and pedestrians to be alert.
- Emergency signals warn other drivers of a problem that you may have.
- Mirrors should be adjusted before you leave any parked position.
- Mirrors should be used quite often to see what is happening around you at all times. When you think your going to have to stop, check you’re rearview mirror first. You may have to touch your brake, to warn others behind you. You may have to stop a little further ahead to give the driver behind you room to stop safely. It’s all part of driving defensively.
- Headlights should be working, high and low beam.
- Wipers are a must in bad weather conditions.
- Windshield must be clean.
- Emergency brakes should be applied when in a parked position at all times. Test you’re emergency brake by applying the handle, or pushing to the floor, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Remove gear out of park position with foot on brake pedal and put in drive position. Ease up on brake pedal. Vehicle should not roll forward. It is a good habit to always release park brake after putting vehicle in gear. The vehicle will not roll forward if you forget to put you’re foot on the brake pedal, if the park brake is functioning properly.
- Seat belts: Make sure you’re seatbelt is on. Including passengers. It is a violation in most, if not every city and state not to wear it.
- Heater should be adjusted accordingly, for maximum comfort. Driver must open windows if too hot.
- Seat adjustments should be adjusted for maximum visibility and comfort.
(Check owner’s manual for further knowledge of vehicle features and safety features.)
These topics that we covered should be second nature when reaching for them, especially when you get an unexpected downpour, or hit with mud from a passing vehicle, if you have to look for you’re wipers, you may find yourself on top of another vehicle or in a ditch! Do not attempt to drive without this knowledge.