Safety & Emergency Tips
Prepare yourself and your passengers for emergencies that may arise on the road by keeping in mind the following tips.
- Do not wear your safety belt across your stomach, under your arm or behind your back.
- Always wear a safety belt, even if the vehicle has an air bag.
- Safety features such as air bags, antilock brake systems and side impact protection should be near the top of your car shopping list.
- Not wearing safety belts contributes to more fatalities than any other behavior.
- During an accident, a backseat sitting child reduces the risk of death by 27 percent.
- Never ride with a child on your lap -- you cannot restrain him safely and you could crush him in a collision.
- Never ride in the cargo compartment of any car or truck.
- Airbags save over 1,500 lives per year.
- Not every child safety seat will fit in every car. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
- It is illegal and dangerous to pass a school bus with flashing lights.
- To help you see and be seen on the road, keep all external lighting on your vehicle working. It's also not a bad idea to keep an assortment of spare fuses in a variety of amperages in your vehicle.
- Never run your car's engine in any area that does not have proper ventilation.
- Toddlers between 20 and 40 pounds should be seated in the backseat in a forward facing safety seat for toddlers.
- Infants should be seated in the backseat in a rear facing safety seat. Under no circumstances, should a rear facing safety seat be placed in the front seat.
- Make sure the base of your child safety seat fits snugly and securely on your car's seat and in the belts, with only about an inch of give.
- When fastening a child safety seat, there should only be an inch gap between the harness and the child's collarbone.
- Many local fire and police departments, as well as hospitals, will inspect your child safety seat for free to ensure your seat is installed properly.
- If your car seat has been through a car accident, you should have the car seat replaced.
- Children over the age of 12 and over 80 pounds should always wear a lap/shoulder belt and never place the belt behind the back or under the arm.
- Children between 40 and 80 pounds should always use a booster seat to minimize the possibility of improper placement of the shoulder belt.
- Children should always ride in the backseat to help protect them from the impact of head-on collisions and from airbags.
- Never let your children lie down in the backseat, even when belted in because seat belts do not restrain passengers properly unless they are seated in an upright manner and snugly belted.
- Never use one belt to buckle in two kids.
- Make sure your jack and spare tire are in good working order.
- Always keep a basic car first aid or emergency kit in your car, including a flashlight, a flare, and enough tools to make basic repairs.
- In addition to a basic first aid kit, consider stocking your vehicle with tire-inflating sprays, radiator-plugging fluids, a blanket, extra fuses, motor oil, ice scrapers.
- Some cellular phone companies offer affordable "emergency" plans that offer reduced rates for minimal use, such as automobile emergencies.
- If you've been in an accident, the first thing to do is check for injuries.
- Even if no one is hurt in an accident involving another vehicle, you'll need to get a police report (or at least a joint report of automobile accident) and the other drivers' insurance information.
- Never try to move injured passengers.
- Never drive away from the scene of an accident if your car is leaking fluids or your wheels or your tires aren't functioning properly.
- If your car breaks down, try to move it off the road as far as possible to a highly visible, well-lit area that's out of oncoming traffic.
- Never get under a vehicle that is supported only by a tire jack.
- If you are involved in or witness a hit-and-run incident, try to take down the license plate number of the fleeing vehicle.
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