Ensuring Your Car Is As Safe As Possible: Car Safety Checklist

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

April 21, 2022

CHECKS YOU CAN MAKE ON YOUR OWN

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Defensive driving isn’t the only way to keep yourself safe on the road. Maintaining and keeping your car in excellent functioning order might also help you avoid car accidents. A well-maintained car will brake quicker, handle better, and steer more precisely. This may make the difference between a near call and a deadly accident in circumstances when seconds matter.

We’ve put up a car safety checklist since regular car maintenance is an excellent approach to help reduce accidents. This list is broken into the following sections:

safety checks you can complete yourself

safety checks you’ll need a mechanic to perform more advice to help you remain safe on the road

Performing your periodic maintenance checks may help you detect a small problem before it becomes a significant and expensive one, in addition to lowering your risk of a car accident.

CHECK THE TREAD DEPTH OF YOUR TIRES

The distance between a tire’s deepest groove and the area of the tire that meets the road is known as tread depth. Tread depth is usually measured in 32nds of an inch. Tread that is in excellent condition is critical to your car’s ability to stop and move. The thinner the tread depth, the longer it will take for your car to come to a complete stop. 6/32 inches is the required minimum depth. A bald tire (a tire with a smooth surface) is a danger, particularly on wet roads.

CARS WITH INADEQUATE TREAD ARE MORE LIKELY TO ROLL OVER.

You can verify whether your tire tread is adequate with a simple test at home using a cent. Place a coin in many tread grooves across the tire with Lincoln’s head looking down. Your treads are shallow and worn out if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head. You probably have adequate tread on your tires if the tread constantly covers part of Lincoln’s head.

[Insert a picture of a penny test here]

CHECK THE PRESSURE IN YOUR TIRES

Monitoring your tire pressure, like checking your tread, is important for maintaining a safe car and reducing your chances of being involved in a car accident. Self-service air pumps with tire pressure gauges are available at many petrol stations. The pounds per square inch

(PSI) that your tires should be at is listed in every car handbook (and on the side of your tires). The PSI of your tire might also be found on a label inside the driver’s door jam.

One of the simplest methods to ensure that your car stops and moves in a manner that will help you avoid any potential accidents is to make sure that your tires are properly filled. When important moves are required, a tire that is over-or under-inflated might create complications. Keep an eye on your tire pressure since it might fluctuate depending on the weather.

MAKE SURE ALL OF YOUR LIGHTS ARE TURNED ON.

When checking your car’s lights, you want to make sure they’re all in good working order. It’s not simply difficult to see with dead bulbs and dirty lenses. However, they reduce your car’s visibility to pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists.

Burned-out bulbs might also create additional issues, particularly when it comes to turning signals. If your car is not correctly signalling, it may cause other drivers and persons on the road to get confused, perhaps resulting in an accident.

Check your headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals once a week to ensure they’re all working correctly.

LOOK FOR ANY POSSIBLE LEAKS.

Looking for leaks is another simple safety check you may do on your own. Examine your car’s undercarriage for any fluids that may have spilt onto your driveway. It might be nothing if you observe fluid. However, it might be an indication that your brake fluid is leaking, which is concerning.

EXAMINE YOUR WIPERS

Wiper blades typically last six months to a year. Don’t wait until it’s raining to take action if you notice yours are squeaking or aren’t cleaning your windshield as effectively as they used to. It is critical to see well in a rainstorm to keep yourself and others safe from accidents.

CHECK YOUR STEERING

A tight steering wheel that reacts slowly during turns or makes a loud noise when turning are all symptoms that your steering pump is malfunctioning or that fluid is leaking. You can simply keep an eye out for this on your own. However, you will want the services of a technician to check and fix it. A technical malfunction such as faulty steering might constitute a safety concern, increasing the likelihood of a car collision.

EXAMINE YOUR BATTERY

One of the most prevalent reasons for automotive difficulties is a dead battery. A well functional battery isn’t often thought of as something that will keep you safe. A car that dies in traffic or leaves you stranded on the side of the road, on the other hand, puts you at grave risk.

Heat is a big contributor to poor battery performance. High temperatures may cause the critical liquids in your battery to evaporate, reducing its capacity to charge and retain a

charge. Consistently hot heat, such as that seen during Phoenix summers, may erode and damage a battery, resulting in unanticipated problems.

A MECHANIC PERFORMS SAFETY CHECKS

Having your technician do periodic maintenance checks can offer you peace of mind, lengthen the life of your car, and keep you and your passengers safe on the road. Your mechanic should complete the following safety inspections.

MAKE SURE YOUR CAR’S FLUIDS ARE IN GOOD SHAPE.

Fluids of many varieties are essential to the functioning of your car. That is why you should get them examined and filled to the proper amounts regularly. Your car’s make and model will determine how frequently you should get your fluids checked. The following are some of the most common fluids that should be checked to avoid an car accident:

Fluid for the transmission

Windshield wiper fluid • Brake fluid • Engine oil • Power steering fluid

The heat from Phoenix’s scorching summers might damage your car or truck’s performance since it reduces the viscosity of the liquid, making it less efficient. Engine oil is one of the fluids that are most vulnerable to heat-related changes. Heat affects viscosity, making the once-thick engine oil thinner, which may create major performance issues in your car.

The relevance of the various fluids in the above list varies. On the other hand, everything in your car works together to keep you and your loved ones safe.

EXAMINE THE HOSES AND BELTS

Mechanics should inspect hoses and belts for indications of wear and tear regularly. Hoses that are damaged or worn can’t transport enough fluid throughout your car. On the other hand, damaged belts may turn a working car into a rolling danger in a matter of seconds.

Depending on mileage and condition, different belts must be changed at different intervals. Your car’s normal maintenance schedule may be found in your owner’s handbook or on the internet.

GET YOUR TIRES ROTATED AND ALIGNED

Tire rotation distributes utilisation throughout the tires, preventing overuse in one location. This makes it easier for your tires to keep traction and last longer.

Tire alignment also aids in the even wear of tires. A properly aligned car will not pull to one side, giving you more control over your car. Although alignments are not required regularly, a car may quickly fall out of alignment if it collides with a curb or makes a sharp curve.

As previously said, one of the essential methods to keep your car safe is to maintain your tires in excellent condition. Tires used a lot are more likely to blow out, which is a typical cause of car accidents.

EXAMINE THE SHOCKS AND STRUTS.

Between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, shocks and struts should be changed. It’s a good idea to arrange an inspection if your car is reaching certain milestones. If your car seems unsteady, it might be due to a problem with the shocks and struts. Excessive bouncing or swaying when driving is one obvious symptom of a problem.

OTHER SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR CAR ROADSIDE KIT

A roadside kit’s equipment can keep you safe and keep your car running until you can go to a repair facility. Flares and triangular reflectors, for example, may assist signal passing motorists that you’ve come to a halt. To avoid a road shoulder collision, this is a requirement. Jumper cables, an essential element of any roadside kit, can re-start your car and get you out of danger.

Include the following things in your roadside help kit:

Safety Vest with Reflective Stripes • Gloves • Tire Pressure Gauge • LED Flashlight • Raincoat • First Aid Kit

TOOLS AND A SPARE TIRE

Even if you’re one of the 60% of people who can’t replace a tire, having a spare and the equipment you’ll need may come in useful. A kind Samaritan or one of your passengers may be able to assist you in getting back on the road. After all, whatever you can do to reduce your time spent on the side of the road may help you avoid an accident.

ASSISTANCE ON THE ROAD

When a car accident or breakdown occurs, roadside help may alleviate a lot of anxiety and tension. Towing, battery jumps, and tire replacements are all services that may help you get out of dangerous circumstances. These services are really useful if you can afford them. You may wish to check into some low-cost options for roadside help. Roadside help is available for free or at a reduced fee via AARP and certain credit cards. You may be amazed at how inexpensive it is.

WAS A CARELESS DRIVER TO BLAME FOR YOUR ACCIDENT? WARRIOR CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS CAN HELP YOU.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers is here to assist you in a car accident caused by a careless motorist. Our objective is to get the maximum amount of compensation for our clients.

Medical expenditures missed pay, and pain and suffering, among other things, are covered by this compensation. While you concentrate on your rehabilitation, let us examine your claim, deal with the insurance companies, and negotiate the best possible payment for you.

Our first case reviews are completely free of charge. Call us at 855-749-5299 or send us an email to learn more.

HOW MUCH IS THE PROPERTY DAMAGE FROM YOUR CAR ACCIDENT WORTH?

You’ll almost certainly be involved in a car accident involving property damage sooner or later. The typical American motorist is likely to be involved in three or four car accidents during their lifetime. ¹

You have a right to expect the at-fault driver or their insurance company to pay for your losses if you’ve been in a car accident caused by someone else.

Car repairs aren’t the only kind of property damage that may occur in a car collision. You have the right to seek compensation for the expense of repairing or replacing personal property that was damaged or destroyed in the accident.

Personal property includes anything from your clothes and eyeglasses to your mobile phone and school books, as well as any food in the trunk. Pets are considered personal property in several states.

Learn how to submit a successful property damage claim and what to do if your insurer refuses to pay.

CAR ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIMS

After an car accident, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver for damages to your car, lost personal possessions, and other expenses.

The cost of repairing your car

The fair market value of the car if it’s a complete loss Car-related property damage claims might include:

Replacement value of enhancements you made to your cars, such as a sound system or custom wheel rims, while your car is in the shop

Personal property claims might include: Cell phones

Laptops

Jewellery, including smartwatches Ruined clothes

Sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses

You may claim any property that was lost in the accident that you can verify. If you were driving home with a week’s worth of groceries in the trunk, for example, save your supermarket receipt from backing up your claim if your groceries were wrecked in the accident.

BOOSTER SEATS AND CAR SEATS: After a moderate or severe car collision, safety experts suggest changing kid car seats. Make sure to ask the insurance company for the cost of replacing the car seat.

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE?

Make it simple for the insurance provider to reimburse the full worth of your personal property if it is lost or destroyed. Gather purchase receipts or search your credit card or online shopping account for purchase details. Claim the full value of everything you lost in the accident.

Whether or not you have a receipt for an item, attempt to give documentation of the replacement cost. That laptop may have been purchased during a Christmas deal, but how much would it cost to replace it today?

If you don’t have a purchase receipt, look for images of the item you had before the car accident. The adjuster will not immediately accept your list of missing things. Copies of your electronic device and software registration might be useful.

LOSS OF UTILITY

The value of your car and personal belongings is not limited to the cost of repair or replacement. If you are suddenly without your car or cell phone for days or weeks, consider the loss of usage.

Add in the expense of a temporary car rental or a “burner” phone you have to purchase for a limited time.

SENSITIVE VALUE

When it comes to personal property, particular objects, such as your great jewellery, grandmother’s shattered in the collision, may have emotional value. The pain and suffering component of your injury claim may include your grief over the loss or destruction of a family treasure.

Similarly, you may be eligible to file an emotional distress claim for the pain you’ve experienced as a result of the death or damage of a beloved pet. Pets are classified as personal property in most states. You may at the very least seek payment for any veterinarian expenditures incurred as a result of the accident.

COMPENSATION FOR CARS ACTUAL CASH VALUE (ACV) (ACV)

Every car is worth something. The Kelley Blue Book or a business named CCC Casualty Solutions determines this value. CCC’s valuation algorithm is used by around 80% of claims adjusters to compute Actual Cash Value. The book value assists the adjuster in determining whether or not to permit repairs or declare the car a complete loss.

The book value of your car is determined by its age, previous damage, usage, and even where you live. Pick-up trucks, for example, have a larger value in rural regions than they do in metropolitan ones.

The insurance company is not required to pay for repairs if the anticipated cost of repairs exceeds the worth of your car. Rather, they’ll “total” your car and provide you with a check for the book value.

You have the option of keeping a car that has been ruled a complete loss. However, since the salvage value would have offset their loss, the insurance company would most likely take it from your claim. They may also report the car as totalled to your state’s DMV.

The worth of your car is unaffected by the amount you owe on your car loan. The bank will still expect you to make auto payments even if your car is “totalled” for less than the amount owed on your loan.

CAR VALUE HAS DROPPED

If you’ve ever looked for a second-hand car, you know that a car with a collision history is less valuable than one that has never been in an accident.

The decreased value of an car is the difference between its pre-accident value and its market worth after repairs. Even after repairs, a car with considerable accident damage will always be worthless.

With car accident lawyers, diminished value is a popular subject. Insurance companies dislike compensating claims for lost value, and an adjuster’s settlement offer is unlikely to contain the diminished value.

It will be up to you or your lawyer to pursue the matter. It’s also up to you to show that, even after repairs, your car is worth less than it was before the accident.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING SCENARIO: A VALID LOSS CLAIM IS ONE WITH DIMINISHED VALUE.

The Mabry case included a class-action lawsuit in Georgia against State Farm Auto Insurance Company for breach of contract (including more than 25,000 insurance claims).

State Farm was accused of failing to pay a portion of the insured damages suffered by the class of policyholders. They claimed that State Farm failed to inform them of the lower worth of their cars or to compensate them for it.

The court ruled in the class’s favor. State Farm filed an appeal. The policyholders’ appeal was heard by the Georgia Supreme Court, which likewise ruled in their favor.

“[T]he insurance policy, created by the insurer, offers to pay for the insured’s loss; what is lost when physical damage happens is both utility and value; consequently, the insurer’s responsibility to pay for the loss includes paying for any lost value…”, according to the appeal court judgement.

MABRY VS STATE FARM AUTO INC.

Many additional states have allowed decreased value insurance claims against the at-fault driver’s carrier after the Mabry case in 2001. Each state has its regulations and criteria for determining decreased worth.

If your car was repaired after considerable damage, it might be worthwhile to get legal guidance from a local car accident attorney during a free consultation.

How to Make a Property Damage Claim After a Car Accident

The majority of property damage claims are covered by motor insurance.

Your no-fault insurance does not cover car repairs. You have the option of using your collision coverage (subject to a deductible) or filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s property damage liability policy (subject to a deductible).

You won’t need to seek estimates for car damage in most cases. The insurance adjuster will assess your car or have it appraised by a car repair shop with whom the insurance company already has a business relationship.

CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY AND INFORM THEM OF YOUR SITUATION.

You may not feel the need to tell your insurance carrier if the other motorist takes responsibility at the scene, particularly for small fender-benders. This is a poor decision.

Contact your insurance provider. Not only will you be safeguarding your financial interests, but your insurance also compels you to report any car accidents to the business.

NOTICE CLAUSE: A “notification clause” is included in almost every car insurance contract. The provision states that you promised to notify the insurance company in the event of an accident and to help with the firm’s inquiry.

“Insured (you) agrees to notify the insurer (your insurance company) of any accidents and to provide the insurer with all information, assistance, and cooperation that the insurer reasonably requests, and agrees that in the event of a claim, the insurer and the insured will do nothing that will prejudice the insurer’s position…”

If someone from the other car files a lawsuit against you, the insurance company must retain counsel to defend you. If you don’t contact your insurance carrier right after an accident, you risk losing that protection.

Protect yourself against fraud by not relying on what the other driver says at the scene. Every day, following small accidents, fake injury claims are lodged. If you hadn’t previously informed your insurance company about the collision, they would be in a tough situation.

If you have collision coverage, it may be more convenient to have your insurance provider handle your claim for car repairs and car rental. Your insurance company will then seek payment from the other driver’s insurance company. If you paid a deductible, they might frequently recover it as well.

Your uninsured motorist policy may pay property damage claims if the at-fault driver does not have valid insurance. Many states mandate uninsured motorist coverage for injuries, with uninsured property damage coverage offered as an alternative.

INFORM THE AT-FAULT PARTY INSURANCE COMPANY FOR DRIVERS

You’ll almost certainly submit a claim with the other driver’s insurance carrier for property damage. Make a note of your claim number for future reference when you call. There may be two distinct claim numbers if you’ve also filed a personal injury claim.

A claims adjuster can usually resolve a car damage claim with a few phone calls and emails. Your claim may be handled over the phone, except by sending the car body shop certain repair quotes by email.

The claims adjuster’s task starts as soon as you claim with the other driver’s car insurance. The adjuster will work with you and the car repair company to make sure everything is in order. You won’t have to wait more than a few days for your car to be fixed in most circumstances.

MAKE A RENTAL CAR REQUEST

While your car is undrivable, you have the right to a rental. Most insurance firms have connections with car rental businesses and can advise you on where to pick up your rental car.

Alternatively, you have the right to seek compensation for “loss of use” while you wait for your car to be returned.

OEM (ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER) PARTS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

When your car is damaged, you have the right to have it restored to its pre-accident state. When your car is repaired using OEM components, that implies the parts are the same as the ones that came with your car when you bought it.

When it comes to car claims, insurance companies prefer to pay as little as possible. The claims adjuster may only allow “Aftermarket” items if you don’t insist on OEM parts.

Aftermarket components are less costly and simpler to get than OEM parts, but they may not be of the same quality.

Aftermarket components may now be as excellent as OEM ones. However, this is not always the case. OEM components are generally covered by a guarantee and should perform just as well as the original.

5 STEPS TO BUILDING YOUR CLAIM AFTER AN ACCIDENT

Imagine driving along in your car, minding your own business, when all of a sudden, you’re reeling from the force of a collision. Even simple mishaps might cause disorientation and tension. Here’s how to create a good insurance claim after an accident.

MAKE A POLICE CALL.

Call 911 to report the accident and request help after checking for injuries. Police officers may only be summoned to the site if someone is injured, traffic is impeded, or circumstances are injuryful to others, depending on where you reside.

Regardless matter the situation, call the cops. A police report, particularly if the other car was penalised, is crucial proof of their guilt.

The investigating officer will interview you, the other motorist, and any witnesses. They’ll look into the situation and perhaps take photos. The at-fault motorist may get a traffic penalty.

GATHER VITAL INFORMATION

Most state laws compel drivers to remain at the site of an car collision, check for injuries, and share information with other drivers.

Write down the information you’ll need throughout the claims procedure while you’re at the accident site, including:

The other driver’s contact information • The make, model, and license number of the car • The other driver’s insurance company’s name, policy number, and phone number

The other driver’s admissions, such as “It was my fault” or “I didn’t see you.”

TAKE PICTURES AND VIDEO.

Take as many images and videos of the accident site as you can safely. Take photographs of the following: • Damage to both cars

Broken glass and any other broken components that came off the autos • The surrounding area around the collision, including skid marks

Any custom wheels or extras on your car • Personal property that has been damaged or destroyed

Begin gathering additional types of relevant evidence to support your claim as soon as possible after the accident while your recollection is still fresh.

COMPILE A LIST OF ALL DAMAGED ITEMS.

Any damaged clothes, gadgets, jewellery, or other valuables should be saved. Take photos of the damaged things and look for photos of the items taken before the collision. Gather your purchase receipts or other proof indicating the replacement value of each item.

Keep an accident claim journal. Keep a running note of everything that happens throughout the claims procedure. Important information is always close at hand in your journal. Take notes and keep track of events as they happen, including dates, timings, and details.

MAKE A LIST OF SIGNIFICANT FACTS AND EVENTS, SUCH AS:

the date and time of the accident

the weather conditions at the time of the accident

the names and phone numbers of the police officers involved the names and phone numbers of witnesses

the other driver’s insurance information.

The more structured your claim file and notes are, the higher your chances of receiving the most money for your property loss.

TAKING A CLAIM FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE TO COURT

The majority of property damage claims are resolved swiftly and for a reasonable amount of money. Talk to your insurance company if the at-fault driver’s insurance company declines your claim or if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance.

YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN IF YOU DON’T HAVE COLLISION OR UNINSURED PROPERTY DAMAGE COVERAGE.

Many property damage claims may fall inside your state’s small claims court monetary restrictions. You must file a small claims case against the other motorist directly rather than via their insurance carrier. However, if the other motorist is insured, the insurance company may be required to “defend” its insured by sending a lawyer.

Small claims court does not need the representation of an attorney. These courts are designed to assist individuals in resolving disputes without the assistance of a lawyer.

Even so, you have nothing to lose by contacting an attorney before proceeding to court on your own. The majority of car accident lawyers do not charge a fee for a first consultation.

Free Consultation

NO FEE UNLESS WE WIN

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