Rental cars can be a great option for daily office commute, running errands, or even inter-city trips. They’re often more affordable than other rental vehicles, and offer the convenience of easy availability.
However, rental cars can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. In fact, rental car accidents are more common than you might think.
This is why it’s crucial to take protective measures to stay safe when renting a car and knowing what to do if your car ends up in an accident. Take a look.
Choose the Right Vehicle
When renting a car, be sure to choose one that’s the right size and type for your needs. If you’re going to be driving in the city, you don’t need an SUV. And if you have a large family, you’ll need something that can comfortably seat everyone. Be realistic about your needs and choose accordingly.
Get Familiar with the Car Before You Drive Off
Once you have your rental car, take some time to get familiar with it before you start driving. Adjust the mirrors, seats, and steering wheel, so you’re comfortable. Find out where all the controls are and how they work. This includes the blinkers, windshield wipers, headlights, and hazard lights. And be sure to familiarize yourself with the car’s safety features, such as airbags and seatbelts.
Defensive driving is always a good idea, but it’s especially important when driving a rental car. Since you’re unfamiliar with the car, you won’t be as comfortable behind the wheel. This means you need to be extra cautious and alert when driving. Be on the lookout for potential hazards and give yourself time to react.
Obey the Speed Limit
It might be tempting to take advantage of the open road and push the limits while driving a rental car. But resist the urge to speed. Not only is it dangerous, but you’re also more likely to get pulled over and ticketed. And if you get caught speeding in a rental car, the rental company will likely charge you a hefty fee.
Don’t Drive if You’re Tired
It’s not worth the risk of falling asleep at the wheel or getting into an accident. If you need to, take a break or switch drivers. And make sure you get plenty of rest before starting your trip.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents, so avoiding anything that might take your attention away from the road is important. This includes talking on the phone, texting, eating and drinking, and changing the radio station. If you need to do any of these things, pull over first.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
It sounds simple, but still, most drivers fail to keep their eyes on the roads at all times. This means no rubbernecking or looking at the scenery. And if you need to look away from the road for any reason, be sure to use your mirrors.
Don’t Follow Too Closely
Following too closely is dangerous because it gives you less time to react if the car in front of you stops suddenly. It’s also illegal in most states. So be sure to leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.
Use Your Seatbelt
This one should go without saying, but always ensure you and your passengers wear seatbelts before driving off. Seatbelts are the best way to protect yourself and your passengers in the event of an accident.
Do Not Drive Under the Influence
Never, ever drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also incredibly dangerous. If you plan to drink, have a designated driver or take a cab.
Keep Your Car in Good Condition
To avoid breakdowns or accidents, keeping your rental car in good condition is important. This means regularly checking the oil and tire pressure and filling up the gas tank when it gets low. If you notice any problems with the car, be sure to report it to the rental company immediately.
What to Do if You End Up in a Rental Car Accident?
If you’re in a rental car accident, the first thing you should do is stay calm. Then see if anyone is injured. If so, call 911. Once you’ve ensured that everyone is safe, move your car to the side of the road, if possible.
Next, exchange insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved. If the police arrive on the scene, be sure to get their contact information. Finally, once you’ve taken care of all the immediate details, you should contact your rental car company to let them know what happened and to find out what the next steps are.
Following these tips can help ensure your safety when driving a rental car.