Staying safe when you’re driving an unfamiliar car

If you’ve been involved in a car crash, you may need to drive a rental car while yours is being repaired or until you can buy a new vehicle. Either way, you’re going to be behind the wheel of an unfamiliar vehicle at a time when you may already be nervous about getting back on the road.

You can help stay safe if you’re driving a rental car by taking a few extra precautions.

Take stock of the controls

Before you drive the car away, be sure you know where the various controls are – especially the controls for things like turn signals, lights, windshield wipers and emergency signals. Be sure these are all working. Test the horn out, too. You need to be able to find this without thinking.

Newer model vehicles may have technology you’re not used to handling. Much of it is for your safety. It’s wise to become familiar with the various warning alerts you might get so that you can respond appropriately.

You should also learn where the levers and buttons are to adjust the seat, mirrors and steering wheel so that they are right for you. Make sure that’s done before you take possession of the car.

Minimize distractions

When you’re driving an unfamiliar car, it’s more important than ever to eliminate as many distractions as possible. While you might be used to changing the station in your own car while driving, doing it in a new car can require more time with your hands and eyes off the road. It’s best to set your entertainment and GPS before you drive and to put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” or a similar setting so you’re not distracted by incoming calls and texts.

The costs of renting a car and possibly having to replace your car after a serious vehicle crash can be extensive. That’s why it’s essential to get the compensation you need if you’ve been in a crash caused by another driver.

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