Driving is a big responsibility – I remember my late grandmother telling me that when you’re on the road you remember that you’re driving a lethal machine. Of course she was correct, you only have to look at the local news bulletins to see the tragic stories of lives cut short on Britain’s roads.
When accidents happen, they tend to fall into one of three groups – poor driving where insufficient care and attention has been present – whether that’s reckless or a momentary distraction. The second group is poor maintenance, such as bald tyres, lack or regular maintenance checks or even being unroadworthy such as not following the law with MOT testing. Finally there are the genuine accidents – things that happen that could never have been foreseen.
Are Accidents Really Accidents?
It’s been said that there’s no such thing as a true accident but I don’t believe that. It’s undoubtedly the case, though, that the majority of road traffic accidents come as a direct result of one of the first two groups.
Avoiding the first subset is purely down to the driver and their ability – not driving while tired is a great start. Certainly avoiding getting behind the wheel when you’re under the influence of alcohol or other drugs goes without saying too. Lastly, driver error can be caused by distractions inside the car – taking simple precautions like turning off mobile phones ahead of departure and not getting into complex conversations with passengers are all wise.
Keeping On Top Of Vehicle Maintenance
So, that leaves the middle group – good vehicle maintenance. A responsible driver should regularly complete simple checks to make sure their car is roadworthy – simple things like refilling the washer bottle and checking tyre tread and pressures.
Use The Right Products
Generally speaking, windscreen washer liquid should be proper screenwash, not fairy liquid or other dishwashing products. Using the wrong product could mean smearing, or worse still foam obscuring your view. After all, dishwashing liquids are marketed for their bubbles, not great on the motorway in your line of sight!
A Quick Tip And Trick
Tyre tread can be easily checked with a 20p coin – it’s not the most scientific, but inserting the side of a 20p into the tyre tread and making sure its deeper than the border of the coin gives you a good ballpark check. If it’s close, take your vehicle to be professionally checked, and get new tyres if they’re close or on the edge of legal.
Best Tyre Inflator Options
Tyre pressures can be checked when you fill up with fuel – virtually every garage has an air machine available for a small fee. Consider buying a car tyre inflator too – you can see some good choices along with reviews here. They’ll allow you to not only check your tyres anywhere you can safely pull over or park, but add extra air if needed too. Don’t forget that a fully loaded car typically needs more air in the tyres than a car with just a driver – very few people seem to know that.
Learn What You Need To Know
Of course, there’s plenty more to car maintenance too. Checking oil, regular cleaning and topping up the coolant are just a few that you’ll need to know how to do, so if you don’t know how, ask next time you’re in the garage for a demonstration – your local mechanic will likely be more than happy to show you around under the bonnet!