Fall-time weather—and dare we say winter weather?—is upon us here in Roanoke. With foggy morning commutes, slick roadways, and frost-covered windshields on their way, now’s the time to start preparing for more treacherous driving conditions.
At Berglund Deals on Wheels, we’re more than just a used car dealership in Rocky Mount; we’re your trusted resource for all thing automotive, and that includes driver safety. Practicing the following safe-driving habits might just prevent you from being another accident-related statistic. And if you’re ever unlucky enough to be in a collision, visit your nearest Berglund service center for expert auto repair, or visit the Berglund Deals on Wheels used car dealers at 20141 Virgil Goode Hwy for great deals on used cars in Rocky Mount, VA.
Read the Weather Forecast
Although meteorologists aren’t always perfect—some may be rarely correct, depending on your local news affiliation—their daily forecasts could save you a ton of trouble. If you’re heading on a trip and anticipate rainy conditions, perhaps installing new windshield wipers would be prudent. If dense fog is expected to limit visibility on your way to work, you might want to brush your teeth in the shower and take off earlier than normal, all in an attempt to avoid a verbal lashing from the boss. Come day’s end, defensive driving during inclement weather is the difference between parking your car in your garage or Berglund’s.
Keep a Gas Container Handy
Sometimes road trips don’t go as planned. A wrong turn here or there might not signal the end of the world, but it certainly won’t aid in creating a pleasant experience. You never know when you’ll be stuck in the Boonies with no cell service or road signage, so keep some spare fuel handy. It just might make your life a whole lot easier.
Vehicle Maintenance is Key
Safety is important no matter the season, and the best way to ensure your vehicle is up to the task of keeping you protected is to perform regular maintenance. Check on the following according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service intervals:
- Tires (pressure and tread depth)
- Fluids (oil, transmission, brake, power steering, coolant, and antifreeze)
- Battery and terminals
- Air filters
- Brake (rotors and pads)
- Windshield wipers
- Headlights and taillights
When in doubt, visit a trusted auto center for your routine maintenance. The experts at each Berglund Auto Group auto shop will perform all necessary repairs and maintenance services so you can feel secure on the road.
Improve Driver-side Visibility
There’s a reason we teach new drivers to always adjust their rearview mirrors and seats before turning on the car. It’s been taught for decades—we’d wager since the beginning of time, but that’s probably not accurate—because it’s essential to keeping safe.
Don’t take for granted your mirror angle and seat height/depth when you enter your car; for all you know, you may have accidentally elbowed the mirror to face the roof or your seat’s position lever could be faulty. Always position your rearview and side-view mirrors to give you the most visibility, and position your seat where you can comfortably reach all pedals without impeding your view of the road. While you’re adjusting your seat, also make sure your headrest is supporting your head, not your neck, as improper headrest alignment can lead to whiplash in the event of a collision.
Fasten Those Seat Belts
Not only is smart to buckle up, but it’s also a nationwide law. In efforts to increase driver and passenger safety, automakers have recently implemented driving features into their vehicles to alert users if a seat belt hasn’t been fastened. In fact, some models have gone the distance by restricting vehicle operation if drivers and passengers aren’t buckled in. Many of our late-model used cars have such features, which makes them ideal vehicles for teenagers. Technology, eh?
Break your old habits or start a new one by buckling up—it could save you a ticket, if not your life. If you need a hand, try writing a post-it note and sticking it on the steering wheel as a reminder.
Distracted Driving is a No-No
Many cite drunk driving statistics when speaking of fatal accidents, but distracted driving is just as big of an issue, if not more so. Since 2005, the drunk-driving fatality rate has declined sharply. In contrast, distracted drivers have increased by over six-fold, which correlates to an increase in fatalities. Teenagers make up a large proportion of this group, which is largely thanks to cell phone usage.
Figures like these are certainly worrisome if you’re a parent, but there are ways to increase your teen’s safety when operating a vehicle. Certain late-model used cars have features to reduce distractions, such as voice-activated SMS texting, lane-drifting warnings, and even systems that prohibit the use of a mobile device when the vehicle is in motion. For instance, Ford’s MyKey and the Chevy Malibu’s Teen Driving systems offer parents a plethora of tools to both collect data on their teenager’s driving habits and restrict mobile usage.
Aside from turning off your phone when driving, you can leave it in your pocket or store it in the glove compartment to reduce the likelihood of its use. And, as always, teach your teens the dangers of texting before they go solo.
Steer Clear of Blind Spots
Blind spots are big danger zones, no matter the vehicle. For RVs, buses, and big rigs, these blind spots can be much larger than the typical passenger car, so always be aware of your position in relation to these vehicles. If you discover you’re in one of these danger zones, consider slowing down or speeding up to limit possibilities of an accident. And as a driver, always check your blind spot before changing lanes or taking exit ramps.
Use Headlights Rain or Shine
Many new vehicles have daylight running headlights either as standard or available features, but older models don’t offer the same luxury. Get in the habit of turning your lights on no matter the weather. It may not aid in your visibility, but it could help other drivers and pedestrians see you clearer.
Use Hazard Lights Correctly
That big red triangle on your dash isn’t just for looks, but many drivers use this hazard light for all the wrong purposes.
No, don’t switch on your hazards if you’re parking and waiting for someone to emerge from the grocery store, Doritos in hand. Nor should you use them if you’re waiting to swoop into that about-to-be-free parking space. It’s also not polite to use them when you’re simply double-parking someone in because you need to run in and get a coffee.
Instead, per Virginia law, use your hazard lights when there is a clear emergency or, well, hazard. If you’re stuck on the side of the road and need roadside assistance, then yes, use your hazards. If there is a collision ahead that’s reducing the flow of traffic, then yes, use your hazards.
There’s also a debate as to whether vehicles should have hazard lights on during rain or snow. In theory, this seems like an appropriate situation to use hazards. But consider using low beams instead, since hazard lights might cause confusion and may even disable turn signals, ultimately increasing your risk of an accident.
Upgrade Your Car
Has your car has seen better days? If so, it might be time to think about upgrading. While new vehicles might get all the airtime, they aren’t the only excellent options out there. Unlike decades past, used cars now provide drivers and passengers with robust safety features, proving once and for all that you can get a bargain on high-quality safety and modern bells and whistles.
Practice Safe Driving with a Quality Used Car from Berglund Deals on Wheels!
If you live in the Roanoke area, come to Berglund Deals on Wheels to shop for your next used car. Call us at 540-489-6779 or visit our used car dealership in Rocky Mount, VA, to trade in your old car, discuss your financing options, or test drive any of our pre-owned vehicles.