Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, and with that privilege are responsibilities that ensure safety for the driver, its passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians. It is the first responsibility of the driver to be sure that he and all passengers are safely secured in their seats with proper restraints. For most average weight children beyond the age of three, the seat belt apparatus provided by law in all cars sold in the USA is the approved system for this safety implementation. For infants and children under the age of four, or under 40 pounds, it is important to be sure that they are secured in safety seats and harnesses that are age appropriate, following the manufacturerâ€™s advice for forward or rear facing to ensure proper protection in the event of a crash.
The best driver can do little to ensure safety unless the vehicle he is driving is in proper working order, and it is also the driverâ€™s responsibility to make sure the vehicle has working headlights, brake lights, and signal lights. Tires should be well treaded and inflated to the manufacturerâ€™s specifications. Before starting the car, making sure that the rear view mirror and the side mirrors are adjusted for maximum visibility will negate the need for distractions to adjust properly when driving, and will serve to minimize blind spots that can be hazardous when changing lanes.
Driving in inclement weather poses other, even more pressing, and exacting precautions to ensure safety on the road. Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you is important in any weather, as many accidents are preventable rear end collisions that would never have occurred had a safe driving distance been heeded. It is recommended that a two second distance be maintained at all times, doubling that time in the event of rain or snow. To calculate this, choose a landmark ahead, and when the rear end of the vehicle in front of you is at that point, start counting, one thousand one, one thousand two, etc. If the front end of your vehicle reaches the landmark point before you finish counting, you are not keeping the designated distance. In icy conditions, itâ€™s best to be off the road altogether, if at all possible. It should go without saying that a general reduction in speed below the speed limit posted by law is advisable when driving in less than optimum weather conditions.