Safe Driving Tips

Safe Driving Tips

Safety Belts & Air Bags

Lap/shoulder safety belts offer the most effective means available (combined with air bags) for reducing fatalities and serious injuries in traffic collisions. But only if everybody wears them. Every time. Regardless of the length of the trip or the weather.

  • lap belts should fit snugly across the hips, not over the stomach
  • shoulder belts go over the shoulder and across the center of the chest
  • never tuck a shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back

Where to Sit In a Car With Air Bags

Air bags inflate at a rate of about 200 miles per hour. The risk zone for drivers in the path of an inflating air bag lies within the first two to three inches of the steering wheel. Placing yourself ten inches from the bag (measured from the center of the steering wheel to the breastbone) provides a clear margin of safety.

  • Move seat to the rear as far as possible while still comfortably reaching the pedals.
  • Slightly recline back of seat.
  • If steering wheel is adjustable, tilt it downward, away from head.

Kids Go In The Back

Never put an infant in a rear-facing safety seat in front of an air bag. An infant or child in the front seat could be seriously injured or killed by an inflating air bag, even when the child is properly secured. As a result, the safest place for children 12 and under is secured in the back seat. Don't let children under 18 ride in the open bed of a pick-up or on a flatbed truck.

Child Safety Seats

Every day, an unrestrained child under age five is killed in a traffic crash in this country. Using the appropriate child safety seat is the most effective way to protect a child.

Selecting the right seat is vital to the safety of your child.

  • Seat should be appropriate for the child's height and weight.
  • Not all safety seats can be installed in all vehicles and all seating positions (Side-facing jump seats found in the extended cabs of pickup trucks are not appropriate for a child safety seat under any circumstances.)
  • If a safety seat is more than five years old or has been involved in a crash, it should be replaced.

Common Mistakes

  • The most common mistake made when installing a safety seat is the failure to get a tight fit. (HINT: Lean into safety seat while tightening belts that hold the seat in place.)
  • Just as important, the safety seat harness that secures the child to the seat should also fit snugly.
  • The vehicle's safety belts must be made to lock in order to hold the safety seat firmly in place. (Locking clips may be required.)
  • Rear-facing infant seats should be reclined at a 45-degree angle.
  • The child safety seat registration card should be filled out and mailed back to the manufacturer in case the seat is recalled.


What To Do After a Crash

First, check for injuries. If people are hurt, tend to them. If the vehicles cannot be moved, protect the scene with flares or a raised hood. Otherwise, move your car to a safer place, where you can exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle identification numbers, vehicle license plate numbers, insurance information and driver's license information.
In addition, make sure you note the location of the crash and get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses. If the vehicles cannot be moved, protect the scene with flares or a raised hood.

When to Call The Police

Always call the police when an injury or fatality is involved. The police should also be notified under several other circumstances:

  • when the cars cannot be moved
  • when one of the drivers is intoxicated
  • when one of the drivers has no insurance
  • when one of the drivers leaves the scene of the crash