Don't Forget Your Belt: June Car Safety Tips

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 85% of all drivers and passengers wore seat belts in 2010. If you’re one of the 15% still going beltless, here’s a refresher course on the law and some car safety tips:

  • Buckling up is the law for drivers in every state except New Hampshire.
  • Seat belt laws in 26 states and the District of Columbia also cover anyone sitting in the back. In a car crash, unbelted back-seat passengers can be thrown from their seats and travel at the same rate of speed as the vehicle they are riding in until they hit something, such as the seat back, the dashboard, the windshield, the driver or another passenger.
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides a map of state-by-state seat-belt laws.

Guzzle Less Gas

It’s not just the vehicle that determines fuel efficiency; it’s also how you drive it. The U.S. Department of Energy’s fueleconomy.gov offers tips to get the most out of your next tank of gas, including:

  • Drive efficiently. Follow the speed limit, make smooth starts and stops, and utilize your cruise control.
  • Keep your car in shape. Get regular tune ups, use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil for your car and keep tires inflated to the proper pressure for your vehicle. This number is usually found on a sticker in the driver’s side door jamb or the glove box and in your owner’s manual.
  • Plan and combine trips. Making several stops while the engine is warm uses much less fuel than taking separate trips from a cold start.

Monthly Reminder: Check Your Tires

  • To avoid flat tires or blowouts, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends checking your tires at least once a month. Make sure tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure.
  • Check the tire treads for excessive wear using a Lincoln penny. Turn the penny so that Lincoln’s head is pointing down and insert it into the tread. If the tread doesn’t cover Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.
  • Remove any debris, such as glass and rocks, from the treads. Nail punctures, however, might require a patch job at your local service station.

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