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Do You Know Your Vehicle?

Do you know where your vehicle owner’s manual is? Did you read it thoroughly after purchasing the car or were you like most of us who felt there wasn’t a need? Admit it – you have never read it have you? Let’s face it, we all know how to drive a car and they are all the same, right? Wrong! Quite often when consumers buy a new vehicle, they merely glance at the owner’s manual or never touch it.

With the arsenal of auto safety technology, it is more important now than ever to understand all the features of your vehicle. If you don’t know where the wipers, blinkers, emergency flashers, door locks, etc., are they really helping to keep you safe? What about new features you have never had in a car before? Do you know how to operate them? Every vehicle is different, even if the manufacturer may not be.

Here is an example of what I am talking about. An employee just replaced her year old Ford Focus sedan with a Focus hatchback. Now you would think that Ford would place at least the basic features in the same location on the same model vehicle, right? Well, on the first day driving her new vehicle, it rained. She went to turn on the windshield wipers, but turned on the blinkers instead. The windshield wiper stalk is on the right side in this car. The door locks in this car are not on the driver door, but on the center dash. When the driver gets opens the door, all doors unlock, but if a passenger gets out, they do not. The dashboard has a large display with the time, mileage, and average miles per gallon, but the gas gauge is half the size of the previous Ford Focus and difficult to see through the steering wheel. Today, she almost ran out of gas because this important gauge is almost hidden. Then there are all the warnings going off – almost out of gas in today’s situation.

The combination of visual and audible warnings might be confusing to drivers, especially teens and the elderly. With all the high-tech, some assume their car will automatically adjust for their errors – the car will automatically adjust its speed or brake to avoid a collision.

This makes me wonder how many accidents are caused from a driver’s negligence in knowing his/her vehicle before that first drive. Take the time to read the owner’s manual. Familiarize yourself with the recommended maintenance schedules and know the recommended tire pressure and read how all the controls work. Remember, there might be new buttons and gadgets your old vehicle did not have. After reading the manual, sit in the car and locate all the features. Little differences like the location of the windshield wipers can be a big difference if it suddenly starts raining. Driving is not the time to start looking around the car. They may seem like little annoyances now, but knowing your vehicle before you drive can maximize your protection, and others.

Sometimes, however, accidents happen, even to the most careful drivers. If you or a loved one is seriously injured in an automobile accident that was of no fault of your own, you may be able to recover damages for medical bills, loss wages, and pain and suffering. It is important to contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in handling similar cases. These cases can take months even years to settle, but it is important not to settle too soon. Sometimes injuries will last months, years, or a life time.

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