The Car, The Road, and You

The Car, The Road, and You

AND YOU

Always
  • Buckle up all seat belts, including lap belts with automatic restraints.
  • Buckle small children into an approved car safety seat. Children should always ride in the back seat.
  • Make sure you're fit to drive by avoiding:
    • Fatigue. Be rested before you start and take frequent breaks on long trips.
    • Drinking and driving. Alcohol remains a leading cause of traffic deaths.
    • Medication. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs may impair driving ability.
    • Extreme emotional distress. If you're upset or angry, wait until you've calmed down before getting behind the wheel.
In town
  • Move with the flow of traffic. Don't lane-hop. When you change lanes, signal first.
  • Slow down when approaching intersections. Watch for pedestrians -- especially children -- and for bicycles.
  • Police cars, ambulances and fire equipment always have the right-of-way when responding to an emergency. Pull out of the way if they're approaching and stop.
  • Buses, delivery trucks and taxicabs make frequent and abrupt stops. Be alert and prepared to stop quickly.
On the highway

    Take extra precaution when:
  • Changing lanes. Always check rearview mirrors and all blind spots, then signal your intention.
  • Passing. Make sure lane ahead is clear of oncoming traffic, check mirror and blind spots, then signal before passing; also signal to return to right lane, when you can see the front of the vehicle you just passed in your rearview mirror.
  • Following a vehicle. Apply the 2-second rule: When the rear of vehicle ahead passes a fixed object, count "one thousand one, one thousand two." If your car reaches the fixed object before you've finished counting, slow down or pass because you're too close.
  • Being followed too closely. Slow down or pull safely off the road if you're being tailgated.
  • Entering or exiting a freeway. Always signal and never try to back up on the freeway if you miss an exit. Merge carefully into traffic without stopping.
In emergencies
  • Brake failure. Tap the brake pedal to take advantage of any remaining braking power. Shift to a lower gear. Take foot off accelerator and steer off the road when it's safe to do so.
  • Radiator boil-over. Don't try to drive the car to the next gas station -- you'll ruin the engine. Stop well off the roadway and turn off the car to minimize possible engine damage. Allow the engine to cool before attempting to remove the radiator cap or adding water. Then add water with the engine running.
  • Car stalls on the road. Turn on emergency flashing lights and if it is safe, and possible to do so, get your car off the road. Raise the hood and get away from the car. Call or go for help.
  • Run off the road. Don't swerve back or brake suddenly. Ease off accelerator until you can safely ease back on to the road.
If you are in an accident
  • Check for and attend to injuries.
  • Call police.
  • After confirming no fuel spill exists and there is no potential fire threat, warn oncoming traffic, if possible, with flares, or by signaling.
  • Write down other drivers' names, license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions and insurance companies.
  • Get names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses.
  • Report accident to your insurance agent.
  • Report accident to motor vehicle authorities.
  • Don't hastily sign agreements or otherwise make commitments.
The Car
The Road