Every day, hundreds of motorists set out in their vehicles to go to about their regular routines: work, school etc. However, sometimes our vehicles develop problems on the road, or worse yet, an accident occurs. No one can anticipate an emergency but there are some things you can do to prepare:
Sounds obvious? How many of us take the time to check our cars before we set off? A simple inspection at home can help to avoid a lengthy wait for help at the side of some lonely road. Anyway, it's better for your car to malfunction at home than on the highway. Here's a quick check list:
- Tires: Check for damaged, soft or flat tires. Have a look at the spare wheel as well and make sure the jack and tools are there.
- Older vehicles: Check and top up fluid levels regularly: oil, coolant, transmission fluid etc.
- Leaks: Look under your vehicle in its overnight parking space for leaks.
- Battery: If possible, check the fluid level every few days, especially if the battery is over six months old.
- Warning Lamps: Immediately report any lit dashboard warning lamps to your service provider for advice. It might be serious.
- Malfunctioning headlamps, indicators, brake and reverse lamps have caused countless accidents. Take the time to check them before you start your trip to ensure that they're actually working when you try to use them.
On The Road
It goes without saying that you should exercise the utmost caution when driving on the road. That, however, does not mean that you won't encounter a problem. The following tips may be helpful:
- Cell phone: Ensure that it always has enough credit to allow you to call for help in an emergency.
- Emergency no's: Keep roadside assistance and important contact person info handy in your cell phone's contact list.
- Keep a record of blood types, medical conditions, medications and other instructions in the vehicle or your bag. You may not be able to communicate when help arrives.
- Keep an umbrella, a change of clothes / shoes and writing materials in your vehicle at all times.
- If you hear noises, see smoke or warning lamps, or feel unusual vibrations from your car, switch it off immediately. You may do severe damage to your vehicle by continuing to operate it.