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Avoid Accidents by caring for your car.

Buying a car is a pleasure but it also comes with a certain responsibility. It is the owner’s job to keep the vehicle in a tip-top, roadworthy condition. Sadly, not all of us are as diligent as we should be. The reasons why car care is neglected are principally because it might be that a lack of sufficient funds means an owner is unable to get any repairs or car servicing done, or it might just mean that an owner is socially irresponsible and just isn’t bothered. In the first case, maybe it is time to take the vehicle off the road under a SORN Notice until the work can be undertaken; in the second case, well, there’s no excuse. Faulty cars cause accidents.

The Statistics

The latest Department for Transport statistics available, from 2017, show clearly that vehicles involved in more than 1,500 road accidents had defects as a major contributing factor. What’s worse is that with regular maintenance these would not have been major issues.

The majority, which included casualties by the way, were attributable to defective brakes; in total, 802 incidents. Modern cars are complex things and work on brakes should be left to the experts, like a local car servicing garage. Brakes are checked when a car has its annual MOT but faults can occur at any time and, of course, cars under three years old are not tested, no matter how harshly they are treated.

A car that is serviced on schedule and, where appropriate, been subject to an MOT test annually, should be fine. Yet owners at all times need to be alert to any developing brake problems such as a spongy pedal or squealing and get them seen to immediately if there is any doubt about their performance. Any driver who is unsure would do well to consult a local car servicing garage by searching the internet and googling a term like, as an example, ‘garage Bracknell’.

Other Risk Factors

Inevitably, a car’s tyres are the next most common cause of an accident. The above stats show that 719 accidents resulting in an injury where down to faulty rubber. It seems the tyres that caused the accidents were worn, under inflated or damaged and there’s not really an excuse for that. Checking tyres is something that every conscientious owner should do. At least once a week check tyre pressure, tread depth and overall condition; if in doubt contact a professional.

Closely related to tyres are the steering and suspension components, faults on which accounted for 391 incidents in 2017. Even if the tyres are fine, these underbody components are crucial to the safe operation of the vehicle and expert attention will be needed if owners sense any handling issues or hear any strange noise that are out of the ordinary.

Interestingly, one area of the vehicle that is often overlooked is the mirrors. Often they get broken by other drivers passing too close to a parked car or just through the crowded supermarket car parking lottery of door-bangers. A broken or missing mirror is not only illegal it is dangerous because the view around the car is incomplete. Get it fixed.

Traffic accident statistics can often give pause for thought. It’s no good saying, ‘I wish I had attended to that’ after the event. Cars are potentially dangerous if faulty and must be serviced and tested on schedule.

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