A hot topic today is rental car safety. Who knows if the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Act of 2013 will pass this coming January, so it is up to you to do the best you can in making the safest choice possible for any vehicle that you may need to rent. Nobody wants to drive off in an unsafe vehicle, but currently no one is specifically regulating rental car companies and their vehicles to make sure they are safe to drive! Here I’m going to discuss 5 points that you can check yourself before you leave the lot. Just doing a visual check of the vehicle can save you money, time and improve your level of safety.
1) Check Safety Ratings
It is very easy to check on a vehicle’s safety rating and brands and models that have been recalled. As stated above, no one is keeping track of all of these vehicles at each and every rental office so knowing which cars are and aren’t safe can save your life. Also, be sure that you’re up to date on your current insurance policy information regarding rentals and coverage within them.
2) Avoid Taller Vehicles
If you’re having trouble finding what you want, don’t ever go with the cheapest, smallest option. Safety statistics show that you are much more likely to be safe in an accident in a mid-size or large vehicle. And don’t choose a tall vehicle as these are prone to flipping if you brake or turn too quickly.
3) Check the Lights
Be sure to check that your headlights and brake lights all work and are not dimmed or broken. I don’t need to stress to you the importance of properly functioning dashboard lights. If there is a problem, you need to know about it and that is where you’re going to get most of that information (i.e. check engine light, gas light, engine temperature, etc).
4) Check Under the Hood
Check the transmission fluid, engine oil and coolant. Overheating and transmission problems can ruin your day quickly. If any of these are low, speak to the rental agent immediately and get them to address it. Your rental car safety is what’s most important before you drive away.
5) Check Your Mirrors
You need excellent visibility – especially since you are driving an unfamiliar car. Sit in the car, adjust the seat and mirrors until you are comfortable with them. This is for your safety as well as others around you on the road.
You are at greater risk of an accident if you are driving in an unfamiliar city in an unfamiliar vehicle. You must be doubly cautious under these conditions to avoid an accident. You may want to do a quick Google or Recalls.gov search to make sure the rental agency isn’t trying to pass off a dangerous car to you that’s been recalled for a major safety issue such as braking problems, steering issues or combustion defects.
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