There are a lot of reasons to drive carefully, no matter what car you’re driving or where you’re driving, but the stakes are even higher when you’re on vacation. You’re in an unfamiliar area in an unfamiliar car, increasing your chances of being in an accident.
For example, did you know there are around 20,000 accidents that produce injuries every year in the popular vacation city of Las Vegas?
You don’t want to be one of those people! No matter what your vacation destination, these tips will boost your confidence and help keep you safe.
Inspect the Car Before Getting Behind the Wheel
Not only do you have to protect your health and safety behind the wheel, but you also have to protect yourself before you even hop in the car. You don’t want to return your rental car and discover you’re responsible for damages that you didn’t cause!
Always inspect the interior and exterior of the vehicle before you drive away in the car. Document and report any nicks, dings, or scratches on the outside of the car, as well as any stains or tears in the interior. Sometimes car rental companies miss small damages when the car is returned, which means they could be noticed for the first time after you return the vehicle.
Get Familiar with the Car Before You Drive off the Lot
In addition to making sure you aren’t going to be unfairly charged for damages before you take your rental car on the road, you should also take the time to get familiar with important interior features you’ll be using while driving.
Things to look for before the car is in drive include:
- How the turn signals work
- Where the hazard lights are located
- Where the heated rear window button is located
- How the driver assistance system works, if applicable
- How to set the cruise control
- Find a seat and rearview mirror adjustments
You should also ask the rental company if you’re able to refill any fluids, if needed, as well as the policy in regards to gas when you return the vehicle.
Review Your Insurance
Before you sign the contract for your rental car, make sure you’re clear about your insurance. Most insurance plans will cover you in the event of an accident, even if you’re in a rental car, but it’s important to double check with your provider just to be sure.
If you find out your car insurance won’t cover a rental car, take a close look at your credit cards before you buy a different policy. Many cards come with perks, including rental car insurance coverage.
What about the extra insurance the rental company offers? Even if your regular car insurance covers you in the case of an accident, it’s still worth considering the extra insurance. It will usually cover things regular insurance won’t, like loss-of-value fees that include scratches, dings, and dents.
Review Your Route Before You Start Driving
GPS has changed the way we get around for the better. We can get directions to any destination in real time, ensuring we never take a wrong turn. However, it’s still a good idea to review your route before you start driving.
For example, the default route offered by the GPS may take you through the heart of the city, but you may want to spend a few extra minutes to take a route around the city if you’re driving during rush hour.
A quick review of your route can also help you identify potential construction that could slow you down, as well as curvy roads and other road features that could take you by surprise.
Eliminate All Distractions
Eliminating distractions is important in any vehicle, but it’s especially important in a rental vehicle. Not paying attention in an unfamiliar vehicle in an unfamiliar location is just asking for trouble.
Eliminating distractions includes putting your phone on silent and not answering text messages while you’re driving, but there are other distractions you should eliminate. Anything that takes your eyes of the wheel, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off the road should be avoided. That includes eating while you’re driving, reaching for something that has fallen to the floor, or reprimanding rowdy kids in the backseat.
Don’t let your time spent in a rental car end in disaster. The tips on this list will help make sure you’re comfortable behind the wheel so you can stay safe and drive confidently, no matter where you are driving.