Car rentals can make a road trip or a vacation much easier since you do not have to worry about bringing your own vehicle.

Here are six tips for car drivers to remember when renting a car.  Remembering these partial tips can help prevent a car accident or save car drivers the trouble that may come if the car breaks down after you rent it.

1. Know what your personal, automobile insurance does and does not cover.

This will help you determine whether you should get additional coverage with the rental car agency.

2. Inspect your rental car before driving off.

Make sure that the rental car’s tires are properly inflated.  Test the car’s turn signals, windshield wipers, horn, and headlights.  You should also check for any scratches or dents on the rental car so you can report it to the rental agency before you sign the car rental contract and leave so you will not be held responsible when you return the car.

3. Learn your rental car’s controls and dashboard.

Learn what all the buttons and switches do in your car.  Find how to control your rental car’s air conditioner, defroster, heater, how to turn on the bright lights, etc.  This way you should be more familiar with these controls and you will not have to fiddle around with the controls while you are driving.  If you are distracted playing with the controls while driving the automobile, you can increase the risk of causing or being part of a distracted driver-caused auto accident.

4. Check for a roadside or safety kit.

The car trunk should have a spare tire and a jack in case your rental car gets a flat tire.  Ask if your rental agency offers emergency road kits, or bring your own.  This emergency roadside kit should help car drivers in the event that their car breaks down or stops running.  The kit should include triangle reflectors and flares in case you need to alert other automobile drivers that a car accident has occurred or that your car may be blocking the road.  Have motor oil, a gallon of water, antifreeze, brake fluid, and if applicable, power-steering fluid and automatic transmission fluid, funnel and rags, tire iron or lug nut wrench, screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench, and jumper cables that are at least 8 feet long.  Consider also taking work or latex gloves and some duct tape (the all-purpose fixer!).

5. Before you first drive, adjust car seat, mirrors, and the steering wheel.

You should feel comfortable behind your rental car’s steering wheel, neither too cramped nor too spread out.  You should be seated at least 10”-12” away from the steering wheel, measured between the center of the car’s steering wheel and the driver’s breastbone.  This will allow the automobile’s airbags to deploy in the event of a car accident.  Adjust the rearview and side view mirrors so that they are in the position that is right for you.  Be extremely careful about adjust anything while you are driving your car.  This greatly increases the risk of a car accident occurring.  It will be a distraction, and if you do something wrong, like pull the seat back too far while driving, you may have made your situation much worse.

6. Before you get into heavy traffic, drive the car around the parking lot or the block.

This will allow you to get used to driving the rental car.  Are the brakes more sensitive or less responsive than what you are used to?  Getting to know the “feel” of your brakes and gas pedal can make the difference between avoiding a car accident, like a rear-end car accident, or not.  Driving the car around near the rental agency will also allow you to see if there are any problems with the car.  If there is, you can return to the agency and get another car.

Our car accident lawyers believe that automobile accident prevention safety should be the #1 concern for all drivers.  We hope that you remember these tips the next time you decide to go to a rental car agency.

Getting used to your rented automobile can help you be prepared to avoid any car accidents that may come your way.

Please feel free to call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or you can click here for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.  We have a large bilingual staff that can assist you in either English or Spanish.  No fee if no recovery.