Passenger Vehicle Safety Tips

  • Perform a basic safety check. Routine car care like tune-ups, battery checks, and tire rotations are important and help with preventing breakdowns. That said, if you’re traveling long distances this summer, don’t just rely on your usual maintenance. Be sure to also check your vehicle’s tire pressure, wiper blades, fluid levels, lights, and air conditioning before you go.
  • Check for recalls. Even the most informed car owner may be unaware that their recalled vehicle is in need of repair. NHTSA’s free VIN Look-Up Tool lets you see if your vehicle has been repaired as part of a safety recall in the last 15 years. Visit www.nhtsa.gov/recalls to find out about possible safety defects in your vehicle, and help protect your loved ones and other motorists.
  • Protect your passengers. All drivers and passengers should wear seat belts. When you’re traveling with a child, it’s safest for them to ride in a car seat suited for their age and size, and all children 13 and younger should ride in the back seat. If you’re having trouble finding the right car seat for your child’s age and size, you can visit www.safercar.gov/parents for additional tips.
  • Share the road and stay alert!  Depending on the roadway, you may be sharing a lane with motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Without the protection of a car or truck, these road users are more vulnerable. So put a safe distance – 3 or 4 seconds worth – between you and motorcyclists, and always be mindful of pedestrians or bicyclists. During long trips, take a break when driving long distances. Plan ahead for times to stop and stretch, eat healthy meals and relax, and consider stopping and staying in a hotel to recharge during longer drives.
  • Store an emergency roadside kit. Even well maintained vehicles can break down, so it’s a good idea to have a few emergency items readily accessible for your family’s road trip. In your kit, consider adding a cell phone and charger, first aid kid, flashlight, flares, jumper cables, water, and blankets. Even if you don’t have to use your kit, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have these critical items stowed in your cargo.
  • Don’t drink and drive. An average of 1 alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurred every 51 minutes in 2015. Be responsible, and don’t drink and drive. If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out. You can also get NHTSA's new SaferRide mobile app from the iTunes store or Google Play. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or friend for a ride, and will even help users identify their location so they can be picked up.
  • Avoid distraction. Distraction accounts for approximately 10 percent of fatal crashes and 15 percent of injury crashes. Distracted driving can be anything that pulls your attention away from driving, including cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices. Please visit our distracted driving safety website for additional information.
  • Observe “Move Over” Laws. Move over and change lanes to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers assisting motorists on the side of the road. It’s the law in all 50 states. 
  • Every corner is a crosswalk: Drivers should slow down and look for pedestrians at every intersection, whether it’s a marked or unmarked crosswalk. While some intersections have crosswalk lines and pedestrian crossing signs, many do not. A pedestrian has the right of way at all of them. Florida Statue 316.130 states, "when traffic control signals are not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to a pedestrian crossing the roadway." 

Motorcycle Safety Tips

  • Make sure your are properly licensed. Driving a car and riding a motorcycle require different skills and knowledge. Although motorcycle-licensing regulations vary, all States require a motorcycle license endorsement to supplement your automobile driver's license. To receive the proper endorsement in most states, you'll need to pass written and on-cycle skills tests administered by your State's licensing agency. Some States require you to take a State-sponsored rider education course. Others waive the on-cycle skills test if you've already taken and passed a State-approved course. Either way, completing a motorcycle rider education course is a good way to ensure you have the correct instruction and experience it takes to ride a motorcycle. For the motorcycle rider-training course nearest you, call the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at (800) 446-9227.
  • Be sure your motorcycle is safe. Before every ride, you should check the tire pressure and tread depth, hand and foot brakes, headlights and signal indicators, and fluid levels. You should also check under the motorcycle for signs of oil or gas leaks. If you're carrying cargo, you should secure and balance the load on the cycle; and adjust the suspension and tire pressure to accommodate the extra weight. If you're carrying a passenger, he or she should mount the motorcycle only after the engine has started; should sit as far forward as possible, directly behind you; and should keep both feet on the foot rests at all times, even when the motorcycle is stopped. Remind your passenger to keep his or her legs and feet away from the muffler. Tell your passenger to hold on firmly to your waist, hips, or belt; keep movement to a minimum; and lean at the same time and in the same direction as you do. Do not let your passenger dismount the motorcycle until you say it is safe.
  • Wear the proper protection. If you're ever in a serious motorcycle crash, the best hope you have for protecting your brain is a motorcycle helmet. Always wear a helmet meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. Arms and legs should be completely covered when riding a motorcycle, ideally by wearing leather or heavy denim. In addition to providing protection in a crash, protective gear also helps prevent dehydration. Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles, while gloves allow for a better grip and help protect your hands in the event of a crash. Wearing brightly colored clothing with reflective material will make you more visible to other vehicle drivers.
  • Ride responsibly.  Experienced riders know local traffic laws - and they don't take risks. Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles; and always check behind you and signal before you change lanes. Remember to ride defensively. The majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes generally are caused when other drivers simply didn't see the motorcyclist. Proceed cautiously at intersections and yield to pedestrians and other vehicles as appropriate. You can increase your visibility by applying reflective materials to your motorcycle and by keeping your motorcycle's headlights on at all times, even using high beams during the day.
  • Be alcohol and drug free. Alcohol and drugs, including some prescribed medications, negatively affect your judgment, coordination, balance, throttle control, and ability to shift gears. These substances also impair your alertness and reduce your reaction time. Even when you're fully alert, it's impossible to predict what other vehicles or pedestrians are going to do. 

For additional tips and resources visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety).

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