As drivers, every time we get behind the wheel, we understand the immense responsibility we have to ourselves, to our passengers, and to other drivers. By following the rules of the road, by staying focused on driving, and by driving defensively, drivers can keep themselves, their loved ones, and other motorists safe. While there are many common-sense ways drivers can stay safe, your car itself may have little-known hazards. Here are five surprising hazards found in most cars.

A very old man with a valid driving license drives his car.

Is your car safe?

  1. Improperly installed child safety seats. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children are in danger if their child safety seat isn’t properly installed. Every seat is unique and will have its own set of instructions. Having installed one seat in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that the newest model you’ve purchased will install in the same way. Double-check your model’s instructions, and visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Website for more advice about proper installation. In general, the seat should be installed securely, and shouldn’t move around—either front to back or side to side.
  2. Air bags. While air bags can keep you safe in the event of an accident, they can cause serious or fatal injuries to children. Children should not ride in the front seat. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, children impacted by airbags are two times more likely to suffer a serious injury in the event of an accident.
  3. Power windows. Power window injuries have actually killed and injured many children. Parents have closed the power windows, unaware that their children’s necks were sticking out of the window, resulting in tragic strangulations. Parents should always check that hands and other body parts are inside the car before closing power windows.
  4. Seats. Pregnant women who are driving may be at risk if their seats are too close to the steering wheel. Push your seat as far back as possible to protect yourself and your unborn child in an accident.
  5. Cell phones and radios. Most of us carry our phones with us everywhere and more cars than ever are equipped with hands free equipment. While hands free technology can greatly reduce distractions, driving and trying to answer the phone—even a hands free phone—can take your attention away from the road. Accidents can also take place when individuals look down briefly to change the radio station. Just the act of using one hand to turn the knob can split your attention, resulting in a serious accident. Avoid using technology, cell phones, or changing radio stations while in motion.

Driving safely is everyone’s responsibility. Yet, there are many hazards that may be in your car right now that could affect you and your loved one’s safety. Many of these dangers are designed to improve safety—when used properly. Unfortunately, not all drivers use these features as designed, with tragic consequences. When accidents take place, the Law Office of Johnson & Lundgreen are personal injury lawyers in Boise and Meridian, Idaho. Our firm is here to help.

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