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Modern roads are becoming safer, but still, there are a lot injuries and kills due to car crashes. Modern technologies have helped a lot with making the driving process safer, and we, as drivers, must evolve and adopt a responsible attitude regarding our safe and the safe of the other road users.  So, we must be aware about the causes of crashes and try to avoid the mistakes made by other users.

One of the many causes of road accidents are the defects of some important components or subsystems. A recent survey has shown that this is the most important cause of accidents after the causes regarding the driver, such as speeding, drunk or reckless driving.  Modern cars are equipped with a lot of sensors that can detect problems and they are significantly safer than the cars from 10 – 20 years ago. But there are some areas where we can help the technology, and, by making some regular simple checks we can improve significantly the safety of our cars. I am not talking about checks that require an automotive engineering degree, but some checks that anyone who owns a car can make, regardless their automotive knowledge. For some checks you should go to a specialized car service but those checks have a low frequency.

First of all, you should check the engine fluids. This is a simple procedure because most of the containers are transparent and the minimum and maximum level are marked. You should only check that the fluid levels are between the lines. If you found a problem, fill the container with the recommended fluid and if you found it empty again, go to a specialized service. The fluid check should be done regularly, every 2 – 3 months. This check should not take more than 5 minutes and it is very simple. By checking them regularly you make sure that there are no leaks and all the hydraulic systems are working good. Besides checking the safety of your vehicle you also extend the life of your car.

Second of all you should check the oil level. Some cars have an automated system which does this check, but, for the ones that don’t, this is an extremely simple procedure. With the engine stopped, pull out and clean with a napkin the dipstick and then, put it in its place. Pull it out again and check if the oil level is between the markings on the dipstick. This check should not take more than 5 minutes and it should be done at every 5000 km. By doing so, you make sure that the engine is not losing oil and you also extend the engines life.

Another check, this time a little bit more complicated, is the check of the engine belts. For some engines, most of the belts are hidden, but some of them are visible. With a flashlight look at the visible belts. This is only a visual check so you look after visible signs of wear such as transversal cracks or wires coming out of the belt. This check is recommended because you can prevent a belt rupture and all its consequences. This check should take no more than 10 minutes and should be done at least twice a year.  Always make sure that the engine is turned off and keep your hands from any moving parts. You don’t want to suffer any injury.

Another very important check is the lights check. With help from a friend, check one by one all the exterior lights of your car. This check is extremely important because it can save you from a lot of trouble. Not only you won’t have any trouble with the police, but, more important, the other road users will be able to see you and all your maneuvers such as braking and changing the direction.  It is very important to have a fully functioning lighting system because it increases significantly the safety of you vehicle and the overall traffic safety. Also it is important to use the lighting system according to road conditions. Drive always with the low beam on because you are more visible to other road users, even on a day time. When making a turn, make sure to use the proper signal light with enough distance from the beginning of the maneuver just to alert the other road users. Use the fog lights only when it’s necessary and keep in mind that they might be annoying to other road users in normal road conditions. Check the lighting system every 2 months. This simple check should not take more than 5 minutes and it definitely increases your safety and the traffic safety.

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