Car safety is always important, but once you become a dad, it becomes even more paramount. Having little ones in the backseat means car safety should be top of mind every time you drive. Here are 5 things all dads should know about car safety.
Do everything you can to avoid accidents Always make sure you are alert when you are driving. Never drive if you are feeling sleepy or light-headed, as taking your eyes off the road even for a few seconds can be dangerous. Switch off your mobile phone when you drive and plan your journey so that you know where you’re going and you won’t be in a rush. Speeding and tailgating are risky and can increase your chances of having an accident, so avoid engaging in these kinds of driving behaviours.
Learn how to drive in poor conditions If the weather is particularly bad, try to postpone your journey or cancel your plans. If you must drive in bad weather, leave a bigger gap between your car and the car in front, and avoid sudden braking so your car doesn’t skid. Be extra careful when taking corners, and make sure your tyres are in good condition. Before you drive, check that your headlights are working, as other cars will need help seeing your vehicle if visibility is low.
Seat belts and car seats Always wear a seat belt when you drive and make sure any passengers are buckled in. Babies should be in rear-facing car seats until they are about 2 years old, as this will give them the best protection for the head, neck and spine. Toddlers can be seated in a forward-facing car seat in the backseat. Always follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions when you install or adjust the seat, and check the label to make sure the car seat is suitable for your child’s age, height and weight. Once your child has outgrown the car seat’s height and weight limits, you can switch them to a booster seat.
Know your safety features Understanding what the different kinds of car safety features do will help you choose the right vehicle when you’re shopping for a new or used car. Air bags can help prevent passengers from hitting the dashboard in the event of an accident, but they should never be used if you have a child under 12 sitting in the front seat. Antilock brake systems (ABS) will stop your wheels from locking during “panic” braking so that you can maintain steering control. Traction control is a feature that improves the stability of your car by controlling the amount the wheels slip if you apply too much power during acceleration.
Maintain your car Doing some simple regular maintenance will help prevent breakdowns and ensure your car is safe to drive. Change the oil as needed and check your tyre pressure often to avoid punctures. Keep an eye on your car’s dashboard to make sure your gauges are all fine, and check your vehicle’s fluids regularly. Make sure your car is insured and have it serviced regularly. You should also clean the car regularly, as a dirty windscreen can reduce your visibility while driving. Get any chips or cracks in your windscreen fixed before they grow and become irreparable.
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