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Auto Safety Tips

Safe Drivers...

  • DO wear your seatbelt.
  • DO make sure everyone in the car wears a seatbelt (or sits in an appropriate child-safety seat) before you start the car.
  • DO park wisely. Choose a well-lit area of a parking lot or street. And if you're in an unfamiliar area, try to stay near well-traveled streets.
  • DO ignore sign language from other drivers.
  • DO look into cars with airbags and anti-lock brakes.
  • DO remember that speed limits are not posted arbitrarily. They're set to keep traffic moving steadily and to reduce accidents -- and they're based on years of studying traffic patterns and conditions. Also, remember that accidents increase as the speed limit does.

DON'T be a lousy driver.

There are a lot of people out there setting an example, but you don't have to follow. Slow down. Back off. Use your signals. Yield. Remember the basics.

  • DON'T drink and drive. DO call a cab, designate a driver, take public transportation, call a spontaneous slumber party. Just use your head.
  • DON'T try to do too many things at once. Talking on a cellular phone or biting into a fully-loaded cheeseburger while you drive is flirting with disaster.
  • DON'T choose a car for its aesthetic appeal alone.
  • DON'T slack off on the maintenance. Letting the fluids or tires get low or letting bulbs burn out can get you in a lot of trouble.
  • DON'T let the cats out of their carriers on the way to the vet. Trust us.
  • DID we mention your seatbelt?

Safety isn't the first thing on a person's mind when they're looking at a sporty little roadster, but it is something to keep in mind. Generally, the larger the car, the greater protection it will provide in an accident. Check out the Highway Loss Data Institute's ratings of car makes and models at

You're Less Likely To Have Your Car Stolen If You...

  • DO always close your windows and lock the doors when you leave your vehicle.
  • DO park in the garage (that is, if you have one). Cars are rarely stolen from garages, but frequently "disappear" from driveways and open spaces near homes.
  • DO use your antitheft device. If you keep it turned off, it's not a deterrent, it's a waste of money.
  • DO, when you park, turn your wheels toward the street until the steering wheel locks. This makes it a lot more difficult to push or tow your car away.
  • DON'T leave your keys in the car while it's unattended -- running or not. In fact, never leave it running if you have to step away. Even for a second.
  • DON'T leave your house keys behind. If your car were stolen, you'd want to be the one that winds up with keys to your home.
  • DON'T leave anything of value -- a roll of $100 bills, your wallet, your trombone -- in the car. You'd be amazed at what people might steal. If you must leave something, make sure it's out of sight.
  • DON'T wait until you've found your parking spot to stow things out of sight. You never know who might be watching you take the extra effort to put things away.
  • DON'T forget that it's just a car. If someone wants it badly enough to stop you and ask you for it -- however impolitely -- don't take any unnecessary risks. Cars can be replaced.