The reality is that inspecting your vehicle never ends – until your trip is over and the ignition is off. Even then, if you hit a pothole during your trip or something flew off another vehicle and hit you while you were moving, you need to check for damage. But while you’re driving, you must always be aware of how things are working. Again, this is much easier when you operate one specific vehicle on a regular basis. As you drive, consider this:
The more in tune you are with your vehicle, the earlier you are likely to recognize a problem. The earlier you recognize issues with your vehicle, the more time you have to deal with them or prevent them from getting worse. Let’s face it, if you keep putting off having that worn tire replaced, what happens if it blows out at 60 miles per hour? Letting your worn brakes go for too long can lead to a very costly replacement – that’s if you don’t rear end another vehicle because you could not stop. All of this translates to bigger costs for you and time that your car is unavailable because it’s in the shop. As a safe, responsible driver, appreciate the importance of maintaining a vehicle that always operates up to standards.
Speaking of standards, many of the parts you just read about must, according to most state laws including Alabama, be fully operational. If they are not, you can be stopped and may receive a moving violation. If you take a second to think about it, you may be able to identify the most critical parts and systems in your vehicle that should be working properly whenever you drive:
Here is one last important point. Of all the equipment and systems you just read about, do you know where they are? Can you identify or even operate them? Safe drivers know that you never just get into a vehicle, especially one that is new to you, and then drive away. Sure, headlights and windshield wipers all have the same functions. But that does not mean you turn them on and off the same way in every vehicle you operate. Don’t wait until it’s dark and you are traveling at 45 miles per hour to figure out how to activate the headlights. Don’t fumble around with switches after it begins to pour so you can turn on the wipers. There may be times when you borrow a car or must get a rental. Never get into a strange vehicle and just start it up and drive. It is critical to your safety that you familiarize yourself with the basic controls. You’ll need to know more than just how to find the steering wheel, the gas pedal, and the brakes. Find the controls for wipers and lights. Learn how to adjust seat positions and mirrors. Only then will you be ready for take off!