Winter is still upon us, so it’s important to remember the dangers of carbon monoxide when your vehicle is idling. This month, we also address child safety and the importance of changing lanes safely and carefully.
Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Gas-burning vehicle engines emit carbon monoxide, deadly fumes that can leak into the cabin of your vehicle if you’re not careful.
- Do not leave the motor running in a garage.
- Do not leave the motor running and windows closed while waiting for a call.
- Do not use the heater or air conditioner in a parked car with closed windows.
- Do not leave the vents open when following closely behind another vehicle.
- Do not operate a vehicle with a defective muffler or exhaust system.
- Make sure snow is not blocking your exhaust pipes. This can send carbon monoxide fumes back into your vehicle.
Even minor crashes can be fatal for an unprotected child, so it’s essential that they travel in the appropriate car safety seat.
- Never hold an unprotected child in your lap while driving or riding in a car. In the event of an accident, the child can be badly injured.
- Never drive while a child is standing. Even a slight swerve or sudden stop can throw a child against a door, seatback, window or windshield.
- Approved infant safety seats, which are used for infants up to 20 pounds, face backwards. It is best to secure them in the middle of the back seat, anchored by a lap belt. A safety harness helps protect the infant.
- Toddler safety seats are for children who can sit up unassisted – usually from 20 to 40 pounds. The child sits up, facing forward. Some models use a shield that protects the upper body; others use a harness.
- Booster safety seats can be used for children too big for a safety seat but too small for adult belts. Some use a shoulder harness with an anchor strap.
- Convertible safety seats can be used for infants and toddlers. They are heavier and more expensive but can be used from birth to age four.
- Adult safety belts can be used for larger children, but never use a shoulder belt that goes across their neck or face. In those cases, use the lap belt only.
Safely Changing Lanes and Merging
The following tips for changing lanes and merging not only prevent accidents but establish good public relations for an often-maligned industry.
- Periodically scan your mirrors to keep an eye on surrounding traffic.
- On highways, check blind spots before changing lanes, and signal your intentions well in advance.
- Always allow trucks and other large vehicles to change lanes after they signal. If you cannot see their sideview mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
- Always look down the highway and evaluate the big picture prior to changing lanes. Do not change lanes if you cannot proceed with the flow of traffic. Try to never change lanes and slow down; it could cause a rear-end accident.
- You may need to change lanes due to another driver’s unsafe actions.
- Always anticipate that a taxi or FHV may change lanes to respond to a street hail, or after loading a passenger and being told the destination.
- If you load a passenger and discover you need to change lanes abruptly, remind the passenger you will only change lanes when it is safe and that their safety, as well as the safety of others, is your primary concern.
- Always allow a vehicle in front of you signaling a lane change the same courtesy you would appreciate.
- Do not pass a bus or a truck on the right side (unless it is making a left turn). Always use the left lane for passing on a highway.