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Vehicle safety should always be a top priority for drivers. Car accidents caused by texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors are increasing. Further, some states, like Texas, are even raising speed limits as high as 85 mph on certain highways which increases the risk of catastrophic vehicle accidents even more.

Now is more important than ever for us all to do our part in mitigating auto accidents. According to the ARC Network-an online news source that provides stories about auto accidents and reconstruction-it starts with making sure vehicles are in working order before they are driven.

The ARC recently posted a vehicle checklist on its website so drivers can make sure their vehicles are up to date with maintenance.

Checking the tires

Flats and blowouts are a common occurrence for vehicles of all types. Not only is this an inconvenience for drivers who have to pull over and change an impromptu tire, but it’s also a hazard that can lead to auto collisions.

For instance, when highway blow outs occur, drivers traveling at high speeds can easily lose control as they are attempting to direct their vehicles to the side of the road. The ARC encourages drivers to avoid potential flats or blowout by checking both the tire pressure and tire tread wear on all of their vehicles’ tires at least once per month. Manufacturer specifications are typically provided for inside a vehicle’s door or car manual.

Inspecting belts and hoses

Vehicle belts and hoses are parts of a vehicle that play a vital part in keeping the motor running smoothly. If one breaks during a car’s operation, the vehicle won’t work. Checking them regularly to make sure there are no blisters, cracks or cuts is essential. Drivers unfamiliar with the location of their vehicle’s belts or hoses should ask a vehicle mechanic for assistance.

Examining wiper blades

A car’s windshield wipers are fundamental to making sure drivers can not only see the road in front of them while driving but other vehicles on the roadways as well. The ARC Network encourages drivers to check wiper blades to make sure they are not brittle, cracked, torn or smearing on the windshield before getting behind the wheel. The risk of an auto accident increases for drivers who have wipers that fail on them while they are driving.

Checking fluid levels

Making sure fluid levels are maintained is an additional party to keeping vehicles properly working. Keeping coolant, transmission, and brake fluid reservoirs filled, for instance, can reduce problems. Drivers should also check to make sure there is no evidence of leakage by looking underneath the vehicle.

Checking vehicle lights

Just like wiper blades and tires, a car’s lights are a critical part of vehicle safety. Without visible brake lights, headlights, trailer lights, or turn indicators, for example, other drivers cannot see a vehicle slowing, turning or approaching. It’s important for drivers to continuously check all lights before heading out on the roads to make sure they are in working order.

The ARC also recommends drivers carry a safety and first aid kit inside their vehicles in the event of an auto accident. The California Office of Traffic Safety offers suggestions on important necessities drivers should include in their emergency kit.