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How to Make Your Car Safer

Use these thorough and regular vehicle checks to better ensure a safe drive.


  • Step 1: Check fluids Check oil, brake, and all other fluid levels. Inspect tire wear and inflation, being certain that one-eighth to one-quarter-inch of tread remains, and that the tires have the recommended pressure.
  • TIP: Few consumers know that there is a dealer-coded date on tires. Check yours and don’t drive on them if they are over six years old.
  • Step 2: Install child seats If you have children, install child seats in the back, making sure that seat straps hold and harnesses lock. Don’t allow any child younger than nine to ride in front.
  • Step 3: Adjust head rest Adjust your headrest to your height so that it supports and protects your neck and head.
  • Step 4: Set your mirrors Place your cheek against the driver’s side window and adjust the left mirror so that you can barely see the side of the car. Then do the same with the right.
  • Step 5: Replace wipers Replace wiper blades each winter and check the blade pressure on the glass to confirm full contact. Fix windshield cracks and chips or replace the whole windshield.
  • TIP: Have a full diagnostic done on your car’s computer if you have high mileage on your car.
  • Step 6: Confirm lights work Confirm that all lights, especially brake lights, are working. Install brighter headlamps if yours are fading and clean the lamp covers.
  • Step 7: Carry an emergency kit Carry an emergency kit in the trunk. It should include a flashlight, shovel, blanket, ice scraper, water, granola bars, engine oil, flares, extra batteries, and some kitty litter for tire traction in snow.
  • FACT: Motor vehicle crashes account for 35 percent of all American teen deaths.

You Will Need

  • Your car
  • Regular inspections
  • An emergency kit
  • Child seats (optional)

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