There are many important steps to take before you are prepared to drive your vehicle. These must be completed before every drive you go on in order to ensure your vehicle is safe to take on the road.
1. Fasten your seat belt: One of the most important safety checks is to wear your seatbelt. This is necessary in order to adhere to local safety belt laws, as well as to protect yourself. It is the most effective step to take in order to reduce your risk of death or injury. If you have passengers within your vehicle, make sure that each of them is properly wearing a safety belt before you begin driving.
2. Adjust the driver’s seat: You need to set up the vehicle for your own personal standards. This means that you must ensure you can see properly out of the rearview mirror and the side mirrors. Adjust these so you can see directly behind you, and in the lanes to your left and right when you are on the road. The goal of this is to remove blind spots, and the mirrors should be adjusted differently for each driver. If your side view mirrors are adjusted properly, you will only slightly see the sides of your own vehicle.
3. Secure loose items in the passenger compartment: It is against the law to have any object hanging from the rearview mirror while moving. This includes tags, permits, and placards. No object may be attached to or hanging from the rearview mirror while your vehicle is in motion. These tags or objects may be placed on the rearview mirror while the car is parked, but must be removed again before you begin driving your vehicle.
4. Clear your windshield: It is illegal to place anything on the windshield that blocks the driver’s view. The windshield should be properly cleaned and maintained so that the driver has the best view possible.
5. Wear your prescription glasses/contact lenses: Another aspect of preparing to drive is to wear your prescription glasses or contact lenses. If you are required to wear corrective lenses, you must wear them while driving. Do not wear sunglasses or tinted contact lenses at night, as this is a hazard.
6. Adjust ventilation: A few more vehicle adjustments are necessary to make, including the adjustment of the ventilation system, and your head restraints. Your ventilation system is important because the constant supply of fresh air helps you, the driver, to stay alert, and protects you against carbon monoxide poisoning, or exhaust gas, while you drive.
7. Adjust head restraints: The head restraints should be fitted to you so that the top of the head restraint is at least as high as the top of your ears. This cushioning helps to prevent neck injury in the event of a crash.
8. Lock your doors: Locking your doors prevents the likelihood of being carjacked or victimized at a traffic intersection or when you are in parking lot. It also prevents you, along with the proper wearing of a safety belt, from being thrown from the car in the event of a crash.
9. Secure loose items in the passenger compartment: Any loose items become dangerous projectiles if you are in a car crash. These items continue to move at the speed the vehicle was moving before the impact. It is important for your safety to place large and heavy items in the trunk, and to properly pack away smaller items. It may be helpful to you to secure smaller items in a seat belt.
10. Set up GPS: The final consideration to make before you begin driving is to ensure you know exactly where you are going. You can do this by setting up GPS directions, but you should check them over before you begin driving. In the event that the directions seem confusing while you are on the road or if GPS signal is lost, you will still know where you are headed if you read them before you begin driving. Knowing exactly where you are going and how to get there ensures that you will stay more focused on the road.