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Automobile Safety: Breakdowns and Accidents

Paying attention to road conditions, other drivers, and your car's signals should become as second nature to you as following the rules of the road. As a driver, it is your responsibility to keep your vehicle in good condition, operate it safely, and know what to do in the event of a breakdown or accident. Experienced drivers and new learners alike should follow these automobile safety rules to reduce driving hazards for everyone and stay safe behind the wheel.

Preparation Protects All Drivers

  • Follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule to keep your vehicle's engine, brake pads, tires, belts, and other important parts in good working order.
  • Pack an auto emergency kit somewhere easily accessible in your vehicle. Your emergency kit should include a first aid kit, a flashlight, a road atlas, a blanket, a caution triangle or indicator, jumper cables and several bottles of water. In addition, you should have a spare tire, a car jack, and a lug wrench to change a flat tire.

Drive to Arrive Safely

  • Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Texting, applying makeup, eating, or adjusting the radio and temperature settings while the car is in motion can be fatal–it only takes seconds of distracted driving to have a collision.
  • Fasten your seatbelt as soon as you get into your vehicle and make sure all passengers are buckled up as well.
  • Make sure that you are alert before operating a vehicle; according to AAA, one of six deadly car accidents is caused by a drowsy driver. If you start to become fatigued while driving, take a rest break.
  • Never drive any vehicle after consuming alcohol or taking drugs. These impair your judgment, slow reaction time, and alter emotional state and overall demeanor, greatly increasing your risk of accident while driving.
  • Pay attention to all road signs and follow the speed limit. Stay a safe following distance behind the car in front of you, and don't drive in the passing lane unless you're passing another vehicle.

Stay Safe After an Accident or Breakdown

  • Turn your car's hazard lights on as soon as you get in an accident or your car breaks down. If you are able to exit your vehicle, place a caution triangle or other bright indicator on your car so that it is clearly visible; this is especially important at night and in fog or rainy weather.
  • Check on all passengers immediately after an accident. Unless you are in immediate danger, seek medical attention for injured passengers before moving the vehicle or assessing damage. Do not move anyone who is unconscious or experiencing neck or back pain until medical personnel arrive.
  • If you can still operate your car following a breakdown or minor accident, move your vehicle to a safe location away from traffic. If your vehicle is inoperable and there is heavy traffic around you, then stay in your vehicle until police officers or security service professionals arrive.
  • Always call the police department to report any major accident, and never leave the scene of any accident until law enforcement officials authorize you to do so.
  • Make sure you are in a safe location, allowing adequate distance from oncoming traffic, before working on a flat tire or overheated engine.
  • When involved in any accident, exchange the following information with other drivers: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver's license number, and license plate number.
  • Document the accident as well as you can--note the exact location of the incident and take pictures of all damages.
  • File an accident report within 5-30 days of the collision. State-specific accident report submittal requirements and forms can be found on your state's Department of Motor Vehicles website.

About U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.

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