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Important Auto Safety Issues You May Be Overlooking

Car Accident

While researching automobile safety I realized there was an abundance of advice for keeping your car safe and functioning. Most of the information seemed obvious: Repair damaged headlights. Replace old car batteries. Check tires for appropriate air pressure. These are certainly important check-list items, especially when embarking on an upcoming summer road trip. There were two important issues, however, I felt were not so obvious but imperative in ensuring driver and passenger safety. They are:

Missing air bags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that almost 1 in 5 fatal car accidents involved a vehicle with missing airbags. If you have already purchased your vehicle from a previous owner, check the vehicle’s Carfax report which will indicate if the car has been involved in even a low-impact collision where the air bags may have deployed. Additionally, you may want to have your vehicle inspected by a certified mechanic to determine if there are signs of air bag deployment or even theft. Do this when purchasing a vehicle, as well.

Damaged drive belts. (Also referred to as serpentine belts.) This issue, I learned about first-hand. Driving with my infant son in the back seat, I attempted to take a turn across four lanes of traffic when my car’s power steering suddenly quit. My car was in a stall, and it took all of my strength to turn the wheel and get us safely across several lanes of oncoming traffic. My car was several years old and was purchased from a previous owner. Our auto technician informed us that this malfunction was due to my vehicle’s main belt snapping. To help avoid this from happening to you, ask your mechanic to inspect your vehicle’s belts during scheduled services and/or oil changes.

Author: James D. Payer, Attorney in Miami

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