Buying a car is easy. Learning to drive, easy. Becoming a responsible car owner and driver proves to be the challenging part of the deal. And it is something all drivers should aspire to. If responsible drivers populate our roads, we won’t have any use for traffic police.
Now just what constitutes responsible driving and car ownership? Here are some benchmarks.
Make sure your car insurance is up-to-date
Most states in the U.S. legally require car insurance if you own a motor vehicle. There are a few exceptions to this rule, though. For instance, in Virginia, you can forego purchasing car insurance if you paid the state $500 a year.
That payment does not constitute coverage. If you got into a car accident, you still have to pay the consequent costs out of your pocket, which makes the whole bargain a bit absurd. So why not pay for car insurance instead?
Car insurance affords you financial protection. Should you become responsible for a vehicle collision, your expenses will be taken care of.
Make sure your car’s in tip-top shape
Cars are like teeth, which you have your dentist check every six months. Ideally, you take your car to a mechanic twice a year. Doing so will allow your mechanic to preempt any brewing problems with your automobile. Or fix anything that needs fixing.
Your tires, brakes, steering wheel, and lights should be checked regularly. That is for your own safety and the safety of other drivers on the road with you. So matter how busy you get, do not neglect scheduled car maintenance.
Know a thing or two about car repair
Consider this: you are driving a busy city street and one of your tires burst. You have a spare tire in the trunk and the tools you need. But you never learned how to change a tire. Chances are you will have to call a mechanic and wait for them to come to your rescue. Meanwhile, the busy street becomes even busier because of your stalled vehicle. Traffic worsens and you are to blame.
That scenario is avoidable. While it’s not difficult to contact a car mechanic, you should be able to do minor repairs on your car. There are YouTube tutorials you could watch for this purpose.
Know road rules and regulations
If someone showed you a yellow road sign with an X and an R on either side, would you know what it means? In case you don’t, it means there’s a railroad crossing ahead. You should slow down. Otherwise, you might get sideswiped by a train.
Before you start driving, you should know all the important road rules and regulations like the back of your hand. You cannot find yourself in a situation where you’re driving and you see a threatening road sign and have to use your phone to Google what it means. Using your phone while driving is against the law.
Defensive driving is responsible driving. Ideally, it’s the driving you were taught when you started to sit behind the wheel. If that’s not the case, don’t worry because you can still practice and master defensive driving at any point in your life.
Basically, defensive driving is driving with your guard up. You stay alert. You stay focused. Reading the other guy’s next move is your main priority. Defensive driving is the opposite of aggressive driving. The latter means the driver thinks their road royalty, which we all know is a dangerous delusion.
Drive only if you have a license to drive. Do not drive when you’re intoxicated. You can drive after drinking, but your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) should stay below 0.08 percent. If you have a baby or toddler in the car, they should have their own car seat fit for their size and securely attached to the car’s main seat.
Yes, it’s easy to get away with these limitations. But what if you got apprehended? The best that can happen is you’ll be slapped with a fine. The worse, your license might either be revoked or suspended. And it’s not worth taking those risks.
Following these recommendations means you’re an upright citizen willing to go out of your way to protect everyone’s road safety. You’re doing yourself a solid too. After all, being responsible for any aspect of your life will always yield favorable results. So commit to this list. To borrow the title from a short story, the life you save may be your own.