Car Safety and Associated Costs

The second most expensive purchase for most consumers over the course of their lives is an automobile. Along with the base cost of the automobile, one must factor in gas, maintenance and insurance into the total cost of ownership. By the time this is done, a consumer can end up with quite a sticker shock. Since we cannot really control the cost of gas or oil changes we have to look elsewhere for savings opportunities. One of the first places to look in order to reduce the overall cost of ownership for an automobile is the automobile insurance policy.

Most insurance companies will offer discounts to customers for meeting certain criteria. For example, some companies will offer good-driver discounts to customers who have remained accident and ticket free for a minimum period of time. Allstate offers this type of discount for it’s policyholders who have been accident free for three years and even offers a greater discount at five years. They call it a premier and premier plus discount. If you happen to fall within this category and have been with the same insurer for a few years, it may be worth a call to see if they offer a similar discount and if you qualify. Other discounts are available for those taking approved driving courses such as defensive-driving class or good student discounts for younger drivers who are enrolled in school and maintain a minimum grade point average. Discounts are also made available to senior citizens typically of age 55 or 65 and older.

The equipment on your car may also allow you to qualify for some valuable discounts on your automobile insurance policy. As automotive technology and safety engineering has advanced over the years, insurance companies have begun to offer discounts for some equipment that is now standard on many new cars. This is due in large part because of the savings it affords the cheap car insurance companies over the long term. For example, having an anti-theft device on the car will typically qualify for a discount on your insurance policy. This makes sense since fewer cars being stolen equates to fewer payouts for the insurance company. If your automobile is harder to steal then it should be cheaper to insure.

Other equipment designed to protect an automobile’s occupants during an accident or prevent them from happening at all also may qualify you for discounts on the automobile insurance policy. Anti-lock braking systems have been around for a while and have made a significant impact in reducing accidents. Airbags are another technological advancement that has helped reduce injuries when an accident occurs. Instead of having someone’s head slam into a steering wheel or windshield, the airbag deploys automatically upon detection of an accident to soften the blow. Once again, reduced injuries leads to cheap car insurance rates and a lower premium for you. Now that you know what to look for, get on that phone and speak with your local insurance agent to see if qualify for a hefty discount.


Auto Safety Tips

Auto safety is a complicated issue. The safety lobby has forced the manufacturers to incorporate so many safety features into the modern car that many drivers assume there is nothing they should do to make themselves safe. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Foremost among safety precautions is the style of driving. Every time you feel a little out of control you are risking your life. Spinning wheels, cutting in and out of traffic, and driving fast in the snow or rain might all be exhilarating. But these are activities that will greatly increase your chances of wrecking your car and injuring yourself and your passengers. Defensive driving is a subject that few know anything about. But it is so simple to do. Just pretend that everything outside of your windshield is out to get you and you’ll be fine. Maintain respectful distances from other cars and from roadside hazards. Maintain the same rate of speed as the other traffic. And pay attention–no cell phones or map reading on the fly. If you need to do that then pull over to take care of it.

Maintenance is an important issue to consider. Your car won’t stop if the brakes don’t work. It won’t go if there’s no oil in the engine. It won’t turn if the tires are flat. Keeping to the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual will go a long way towards preventing problems on the road. Taking responsibility for some of it by checking your oil and your tire pressure regularly is also a good idea. Back up to a storefront and check your lights in the the window glass every now and then. Keep the condition of your car in your mind as you drive and you will rarely be surprised or disappointed.

Then there’s the Boy Scout stuff. Be prepared. Do you have a flashlight in case something happens at night? Are all of the items needed to change the tire, including the spare itself, properly stowed in the trunk where you can find them quickly? If it is winter do you have an ice scraper, some sand or salt, and a small shovel? In cold weather a blanket and a couple of candy bars will go a long way if you get stranded. And never set off on a trip or in bad weather without a full tank of fuel. An older car should have other items aboard such as jumper cables and spare bulbs.

Passenger safety is also the responsibility of the driver. Your passengers should be belted in. They should not distract the driver or engage in horseplay. If they are children they should be fastened in to booster seats or infant carriers appropriate to their size and weight. These items can be pricey, but most local police departments can arrange the loan of donated items. Just remember that safety is the responsibility of the driver and all he needs to do is be firm and vigilant to make it happen.