Of course not. There are situations when you can’t possibly avoid a collision. But you can limit the chances of a collision by your behaviour behind the wheel. As the all-knowing Car Guru, I’m going to be kind enough to share some tips with you, dear reader, on how to best avoid accidents. Just kidding, of course. What I’m going to do is offer my observations and comments about the errors we all make while driving. After 33 years of driving in a variety of conditions all over the world I have a few.
Cars are built very well these days. They last a long time and for the most part are very reliable. Most people service their cars only when they have to, and tend to limit their service to oil changes. They tend to skip on many maintenance items like cabin filters and engine air filters. Many drivers also choose to buy cheap brake components and tires – crucial safety items that can make any car unsafe.
Clean engine air filters make your car perform better with much stronger acceleration and you are likely to reduce your fuel consumption as an added bonus. How does stronger acceleration add to your safety, you ask? A better accelerating car can often get you out of trouble when braking or turning is not an option. A good example is when you’re trying to merge into fast moving freeway traffic and there is a semi next to you and not enough room to slow down and tuck in behind the truck.
Cabin air filters are also important and very often ignored. Yet, if you spend a lot of time in your car, the quality of the air in it is crucial for your alertness and endurance. Filters are relatively cheap, so don’t try to save money there. Check them once a year and change as required. For roughly $100 a year for both, it’s money well spent.
Next on the item list are wiper blades. Most used cars that I see come in to our dealership have blades worn out well beyond a safe condition. They change your ability to see dramatically, especially at night or in bad weather conditions. And you know what? They are also relatively inexpensive at around $25 a piece for quality ones and you only need a pair once a year or so.
And we come to tires; my favorite item on this short list of basic safety components. Here again many drivers use price as the only relevant thing when they shop around. Yet quality tires tend to outperform cheap ones well beyond the price difference with much better grip and longer lasting thread. A good tire is often only $40 or $50 more than a cheap one and is that really that much more to pay over a period of a few years? And of course consider winter rubber for your wheels. They are well worth it and make a huge difference when temperatures dip below freezing or even in moderate snow fall.
So don’t be cheap on these items because it can kill you. It’s better to drive a cheaper car and maintain it well that the other way around.
Stay safe and accident free!