Some modes of transportation are alike in as many ways as they are different. Just as a pilot has a pre-flight checklist to ensure the plane is in good working order, it is a good idea for drivers to follow a pre-drive car safety checklist.

Check the outside of the car

  1. Look under the car for leaks. The different fluids a driver might see are oil, water/antifreeze, brake or steering fluids. If any of these fluids are visible, it is better not to drive to avoid a possible accident.
  2. Start the car and turn on the headlights, tail-lights, and turn signals each in turn. You can either get out of the car while the lights are on or have someone else tell you if they’re working. After verifying they are working properly, check the mirrors to ensure you can see out of them.
  3. Next, get out of the car and check the tires. Do you have a low or flat tire? Is the tread wearing thin? If the tires on the car aren’t properly inflated or the tread slick, you could have an accident.
  4. Does your windshield washer fluid come out properly? Do the wipers work as they should? Considering the windshield is your way to see where you’re going, it’s important that you can see out of it no matter what the weather.

Check the inside of the car

  1. In broad daylight it’s easy to check the inside of your car to be sure no one is hiding in the backseat. People who mean to do you harm often jimmy a door and hide inside. Making a habit of checking the backseat and floorboard of the car is always good for safety’s sake.
  2. What about you? Are you mentally ready to drive? Will how you’re feeling affect your driving ability? What about physically? Are you tired and distracted? If you’re not mentally and physically ready to drive it might be better to either call a cab or have someone else drive you.
  3. Have you been drinking, even one drink, or taken over-the-counter medications which could affect your driving? Alcohol and medications can make you drowsy which could lead to an accident. Pay attention to warnings on medications so you can get a cab or ask a friend to drive you if you’re not able to drive yourself.
  4. Are you buckled up and ready to go? It would be wise to make a habit of buckling up before you even put the key in the ignition. This will ensure you’re physically ready to drive when you put the car into gear.
  5. Avoid the temptation to drive and talk on your cell phone by turning it off until you reach your destination. It’s important to have your full attention on the road in front of you and what’s going on around you. It’s also good to have both your hands on the steering wheel so you do not want to eat or put on make-up while you’re driving.
  6. Don’t forget to check your oil periodically, being sure to top it off if the level is down. Pay attention to how the car is driving. If something doesn’t seem right, you may want to stop by a mechanic to check it out.

Having a regular car safety checklist is a good idea, whether you use a written list or not. You want to know the car is ready and able to take you where you need to go. By keeping it running right you’ll also know it will also keep you safe.