Drive Safer America! Offers Tips for Summer Driving Safety

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 26 /PRNewswire/ — Continental Automotive Systems today offered motorists reminders for safer and more enjoyable driving during the heavily traveled summer months, with safety belt use number one on the list.

Speaking on behalf of the company’s Drive Safer America! educational campaign, Product Line Director, Occupant Safety and Driver Assistance Systems, Dean McConnell said, “Unfortunately, urging safety belt use has become so routine that some don’t hear the message much less heed it. But the fact remains, failure to use seat belts is the leading reason why people are injured or killed in car crashes.”

He explained that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other safety-minded groups last week kicked off the annual “Click it or Ticket” national safety belt enforcement mobilization. The effort encourages motorists to buckle up and local police to enforce state belt laws.

“After a quarter century of emphasis on belt use, and laws requiring use in 49 states, it should be an ingrained habit to protect yourself and your passengers, and it’s so easy to do,” McConnell said. “But about 20 percent of motorists still don’t buckle up and police will be on the lookout for them with ticket books in hand.”

McConnell’s advice was echoed by Philip W. Haseltine, Executive Director of the Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign. He pointed out that seat belts are 45 percent effective in preventing fatalities in passenger cars and 60 percent in light trucks. “Most people want those odds working in their favor.”

Because many summer activities involve alcohol, another safety reminder is that alcohol and driving don’t mix. Motorists making plans that involve alcohol should either stay the night at their destination, or have a designated driver to get everyone home safely rather than put themselves and others at-risk.

As an automotive safety system supplier, McConnell explained that Continental bears a responsibility to work proactively to help build greater public awareness of all aspects of safer driving.

“Safety involves the combination of knowing about and using the safety equipment built into today’s passenger vehicles, and more broadly about driving responsibly. That’s what Drive Safer America! is committed to,” he said.

Not only do many people ignore seat belt and alcohol reminders, they also tend to forget about maintenance fundamentals that should be performed before every trip. Lack of preventive maintenance has ruined many vacations.

Drive Safer America! offered these inspection and maintenance tips to make summer vehicle travel 2005 safer and hassle-free:

Fluids, hoses and belts

– Make sure oil level is full. Replace oil and filter regularly, as directed by the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service intervals.

– Check transmission fluid. It should be pink/red and not smell burned. Follow manufacturer’s service schedule for cleaning the filter and replacing the fluid.

– Inspect coolant level. Flush radiator and replace coolant according to manufacturer’s recommendation.

– Carefully inspect radiator hoses for leaks, brittleness or cracks caused by aged rubber. Replace if even questionable.

— Check drive belts for cracks and wear. Replace if even questionable.
— Top off windshield washer fluid.

Tires and Brakes

– Check the air pressure in the tires (refer to placard on driver’s door or owner’s manual for recommended pressure). Proper air pressure will result in better driving performance and improved fuel economy. Don’t forget to check the spare.

– Rotate tires at the intervals specified by the vehicle manufacturer, or at least every 9,000 miles in order to promote even wear and extended life.

– Inspect tread depth and look for uneven wear. Place a penny (Lincoln’s head down) into the tread grooves. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, replace the tires. If you notice uneven wear, consult your tire dealer about having the wheels balanced or a front-end alignment.

– Check brake fluid level and replace worn or marginal brake pads before braking capacity is lost and more extensive damage is done to the system. Brake pads are inexpensive; a brake “job” is not.

– If your vehicle has antilock brakes (likely if relatively new) be sure you understand how to use them — in emergency braking situations stomp on the brakes and continue to steer. Do not pump the brake pedal. Hint: Practice this technique in a vacant parking lot or quiet street.

– Many tire and brake stores will perform free inspections. Take advantage to have all your running gear (and belts and hoses) checked out by pros.

Motorcycles

– Motorcycles begin appearing with the warm weather and because of their narrow profile are harder to see than other vehicles. Keep a sharp lookout for motorcycles — most motorcycle crashes involve a driver who did not see the motorcycle.

– Get trained before you ride. Ninety-one percent of motorcycle accidents involve self-taught riders. All states offer rider education courses.

— Ride defensively and within your ability level.
— Avoid alcohol when riding.

– Wear a DOT-approved helmet and other protective gear — preferably leather chaps, jacket, gloves, and boots.

– Inspecting tires, maintaining proper pressure, checking brakes and other maintenance items is even more important on a motorcycle. Adjust and replace as necessary.

Continental Automotive Systems North America is a leading supplier of automotive brake, chassis and vehicle stability technology to the world’s automakers. The company’s Drive Safer America! educational campaign has for many years been a source of information for consumers who want to learn more about safe driving and auto safety technology. For more information, visit http://www.drivesaferamerica.org/ .

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