Make sure your vehicle is safe:

  • Tires should have adequate tread and proper inflation. Consult your owner's manual for proper inflation pressure, carry a pressure gauge and check pressure regularly. Remember to check pressure when tires are warmed up from driving.
  • All lights and signals should be functioning properly.
  • Always use seat belts and shoulder harnesses as recommended.
  • Properly adjust head restraints so that the distance between the back of the head and the head restraint is minimized and the restraint is positioned as high as the top of the head or higher. (Optimal position might not be possible depending on the vehicle.)
  • Remember that loose items inside your vehicle can act as missiles in the event of a crash. Secure these items or place them in the trunk.
  • Make sure vehicle is in good state of general repair (brakes, engine, etc.).
  • Carry an adequate spare tire, jack, and emergency items (flashlight, flares, first aid kit, cell phone).

General driving tips:

  • Obey the posted speed limits but reduce speed when conditions (low light, fog, rain, snow, etc.) require.
  • Excessive lane changing is a dangerous distraction for you and other drivers on the road and will not significantly reduce travel time.
  • Know your car's blind spots and allow for them when driving.
  • The majority of car-to-car crashes, and especially whiplash injuries, occur in and around intersections. False starts, which occur when an intersection signal turns green and traffic begins to move forward only to be abruptly stopped again by unexpected cross traffic or pedestrians, are common causes of intersection collisions.
  • Avoid tailgating others and stay out of the path of those who tailgate you. Remember that the driver following you will generally apply his or her brakes after you, which makes it more likely he or she will hit you. Also remember that large trucks and LTVs (light trucks, vans, and SUVs) require greater distances to stop than passenger cars. If your car can stop in a shorter distance than the tailgater behind you, you are at greater risk for a rear end crash.
  • It is generally best not to leave your vehicle if you break down on the side of the road, especially when on a road where the traffic speed is high, or when it is dark, or on roads or where approach visibility is poor (around a corner, etc.). Call for roadside assistance if possible.
  • Subscribe to an emergency roadside service (e.g., AAA). Note: some auto insurance policies include roadside assistance.
  • Never drive a motor vehicle if you have recently consumed alcoholic beverages.