Cars. They are a must have on most people’s list. The ability to go anywhere you want, when you want, and under your own power is extremely liberating. They also serve as status symbols, showing society you have class and taste. And let’s not even get in to the world of car enthusiasts. But while most are willing to bring out the cash and pay the monthly dues, how many people think about the safety aspect of owning a car?
It goes beyond features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and seatbelts too. There’s so much more that needs to be shared when it comes to automobile ownership and safety.
Janette Fennell is the founder and president of the Kids and Cars safety organization. Here are 5 must know car safety tips for families and car owners.
1.) Power Windows
All it takes is 22 pounds of force to crush a child’s trachea. A car’s automatic windows produce anywhere to 30 to 80 pounds of force. All it takes is an accidental press of the button to activate the window. There is a feature called the “one step up”. Just hit the button once and the window rolls all the way up and even back down. For certain vehicles, passenger windows need their buttons pressed and held to activate the motor.
There is a safety feature for windows called “auto reverse”. The window can literally sense if there is a foreign object blocking it from closing, which then makes the window go back down itself. Test your car’s windows by sticking a roll of toilet paper or even a small pillow between the spaces of the window and the rubber seal. If it stops and rolls back down, you’re good to go.
2.) Transmission lock
Most cars are equipped with automatic transmissions. That familiar P-R-N-D may look simple but is actually a brilliant piece of engineering with many safety features built in. One is called the BTSI or the brake transmission shift interlock. When the transmission is in P, you won’t be able to move the shift lever down unless you put your foot on the brake pedal. Depending on the manufacturer, some BTSIs are built in, while others have a toggle switch which you can turn on or off for the interlock feature. Read the owner’s manual and test your car’s transmission.
3.) Carbon Monoxide
Cars today are unbelievably efficient. Most models don’t require keys either. All you need is the fob which allows you to press the start button and off you go. With technology and efficiency comes quieter engines. So quiet in fact that there are instances of people pulling in to their garage, and with their minds on the kids and even the bags, forget to shut the engine off. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Even better if it’s mounted near or by the garage area too.
4.) Window breaker
There are instances of people getting stuck or locked in their vehicles. It could be a faulty locking mechanism, or worse, floods. There are gadgets out there like this Resqme window breaker. It has a seatbelt cutter and like its namesake, has the ability to smash a window. This little contraption packs a mean punch. It could mean the difference between life or death.
5.) Trunk trap
It happens. With newer models come better safety features. If your daily driver dates from 2002 onwards, the trunk has a release mechanism from the inside. Make sure you know where it’s located, and while at it, instruct the family how to use it too. It’s either a push or pull release. Even better if you can attach a glow in the dark release. Always better to be prepared.
Cars are fun. But they are also powerful machines that carry many risks when one is not careful. Make sure to read the owner’s manual from cover to cover, and educate yourself with the proper maintenance and safety features of your vehicle.
And as always, drive safe!
Check out these 5 safety tips in the video below!
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