||Safety Tips When Renting a Vehicle!
Renting a car? Yeah, you're probably thinking, "No big deal." And you're
probably right. But a little preparation wouldn't hurt and might keep you from denting the
thing you're renting!
Familiarize yourself -
Chances are good you won't be as familiar with your
rented car as you are with the car that you normally drive. So, spend a few minutes
- Take a look at the dashboard. Note
the location of the speedometer, the temperature gauge, the gas gauge, and so on.
- Locate the air conditioner, heater, windshield wiper, windshield
washer, defroster, and light switches. Turn them on and off to make sure that you know how
they work. Besides you probably don't want to look silly thinking you're activating your
turn signal and the windshield wipers start swishing.
- Test the brakes - with the engine running - to get the
"feel" of them. Some brakes are "softer" than others and you don't
want to discover this when you're stopping for the first red light. At the same time get
the "feel of the wheel" by testing the "play" in the steering wheel.
And make sure the emergency brake works.
Do all this BEFORE you take your vehicle out in traffic. That
way, you won't have to take your mind off the road while you're driving - a serious safety
hazard for sure!
Check it out - It's a good idea to briefly inspect the car you rent to
make sure that everything's in good working order:
- Check the tires for proper
inflation. Under-inflated or over-inflated tires can greatly affect your safety,
especially at high speeds.
- Check the headlights. Know where the switch is even if you'll only
be driving during daylight hours - you might suddenly find yourself driving through a
- Check the turn signals, windshield wipers, and horn for any
- Check the trunk. It should have a spare tire and a jack in it.
Inquire about the availability of an emergency road kit if youre interested in extra
protection, or provide your own.
- Check out the need for any special equipment - chains for driving
on ice or heavy snow, for instance. If you have children below the age of four with you,
request child restraint seats for them or provide your own. Make sure that you have
everything you need before you leave the rental lot.
- Check for any scratches or dents and report them to the rental
agency before you leave the premises. Although these will probably not affect the
car's performance, you do not want to be held responsible for them when you return the
Some things are "more
different" than others - The
differences between the rented car and the car you own may be more significant - than
simply the layout of the dashboard or the positioning of the gear shift. Following are
If you're used to driving an automatic and the rented car
is a stickshift - or vice-versa, it's important to reacquaint yourself with handling the
new transmission before you begin driving.
Power steering and power brakes require a lighter touch.
If you're not used to driving with them, you may want to get a "feel" for them
before moving into heavy traffic.
You may be used to a big car and the extra power that it
affords you. Or you may be used to squeezing your little compact into the smallest of
parking spaces. In any case, if your rental car is significantly larger or smaller than
the car you usually drive, be aware of its limitations.
If you're concerned about the differences between the car
you rent and the car you own, you might want to request a rental that is similar to the
make and model of your own automobile. Most rental agencies will be happy to oblige if
they carry that model.
Now it's time to customize the rented car to your
personal driving habits:
- Adjust the driver's seat so that you
feel comfortable and at ease behind the wheel.
- Adjust the headrest so it is level with the top of your ears.
- Adjust the rearview and sideview mirrors so that they're in the
right positions for you.
- Adjust the seat belt so that it fits snugly and comfortably. At
the same time, be sure that you know how to release it.
Getting the hang of it - Take the rented
car for a simple trial run, especially before you head for the freeways or a crowded
downtown area. You may be more comfortable if you drive across the parking lot once or
twice, or around the block, to become even more familiar with it.
If you've got
any questions or if the car isn't performing up to par, go back to the rental agency
Some things never change - Whether it's a rented car, a friend's car, or your very
own automobile, there are some rules of thumb that always apply:
- Drinking and driving never mix.
(Alcohol is the largest contributing factor in fatal motor vehicle accidents.)
- Always buckle up for safety! Use seat belts or shoulder harnesses
at all times. And use the proper child safety restraint whenever you transport a child.
- Drive defensively. This means be alert and be prepared for
anything that may happen on the road.
In case of emergency - Be prepared to deal with an accident or another emergency
situation while you're on the road:
- Review your insurance options with
the clerk when you sign out the car. Know what your personal insurance will cover, and use
that information to determine what additional coverage, if any, you may need to purchase.
- Be aware of the rental agency's emergency road service provisions.
If they have no specific road service available, inquire as to whom you can contact in the
event of an overheated engine, a tire blowout, or similar emergency situations.
The road to car rental success - Now that you're prepared you can reap the maximum
enjoyment from your rental car. So buckle up and drive safely!
|The car to watch is the car in front of the car in back of you!