Do you remember the first time you were behind the wheel and held your license? It was probably thrilling to know you could drive anywhere along the open road until you realized that it wasn’t always smooth driving. As a driver, action is needed to protect yourself and your vehicle from internal and external problems. Sometimes driver protection may look like maintaining your vehicle and complying with road safety laws, while in other circumstances it may look like getting qualified experts to protect you. Either way, here are ten ways to utilize local driver protection resources.
1. Necessary Coverage
Motor vehicle insurance is one of the essential coverage in the United States. According to The Zebra, 49 states in the U.S. require that one carries an active insurance policy. Therefore, one of the first lines of driver protection resources you need is covered by auto insurance firms. Driving without basic car insurance will put you in trouble with legal authorities. In some states, you can get your license suspended or even go to jail.
However, car insurance can benefit you and other road users. You’ll be protected from financial loss if your car is stolen, damaged, or involved in an accident. Second, car insurance can cover the medical costs if you or another passenger is hurt during an accident. Some insurance providers have resources to help you after a car accident, such as covering your rental car charges and paying for towing services.
Car insurance differs by the type of coverage it offers. For example, some insurance policies only cover a partial amount in damage but not towing services. Check your current insurance to understand its limitations. You can upgrade to a comprehensive plan covering more events that could impact you financially and emotionally.
2. Preventing Larger Problems
Sometimes, the best driver protection you need is to help prevent larger problems. For example, if your windscreen has a crack, a repair might prevent the crack from growing and necessitate a full window replacement. According to a study by Automotive Research, 7.9% of vehicle owners delayed routine maintenance. Some of the reasons drivers give for skipping maintenance include the high cost of maintenance, lack of time, and a perception that maintenance is unessential to car drivability.
Routine maintenance prevents wear and tear. For example, regular oil changes and tire rotations protect your vehicle parts from deteriorating, and it helps ensure your vehicle operates smoothly. Further, it helps you detect problems early enough. It’s inconvenient for you if your car breaks down in the middle of the highway while rushing to work. A simple car repair could also protect you and other road users.
The vehicle’s manual is the first place you should start. That way, you can follow the recommended maintenance by the manufacturer. You can also take your car to an auto shop to have a specialist check that everything is in good condition. A car check will typically take some time, however, this is worth it to ensure your vehicle won’t have any unexpected issues arise.
3. Mechanics for Specialty Vehicles
If you have a specialty vehicle, for example, a classic car, motorcycle, or RV, local resources can protect you as a driver. Driving a specialty vehicle may require more protection than regular vehicles, especially if you carry expensive cargo. In some jurisdictions, specialty vehicles are subject to more regulations and compliance requirements, such as following safety regulations.
The size and weight of specialty vehicles also necessitate more protection because accidents could have more casualties. However, you can protect yourself using locally available resources such as RV mechanics. Some insurance providers have specialized policies, such as coverage for commercial truck drivers that offer liability and cargo coverage. Other commercial maintenance services specialize in services that ensure your specialty vehicle is in optimal condition before it hits the road.
You can also take measures to protect yourself, especially when on the road. Apart from keeping your specialty vehicle in good condition, you should maintain your licenses and certifications, such as a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and a HAZMAT certification. Maneuvering with a specialty vehicle may be more challenging, but you can use practical safety tips such as focusing on the road and avoiding distraction.
4. Resources for Diesel Vehicle Owners
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transport Statistics, diesel-powered vehicles accounted for only 3% of total auto sales in 2014. That means that if you own a diesel vehicle, you’re in the minority. Diesel repair services may be scarcer than services for other vehicles. However, you can use local driver protection resources for diesel vehicle owners. Of course, maintenance services should be on top of your list because they ensure your vehicle is in good condition.
You also need fuel, but diesel is often more expensive than gasoline. Some people opt to install a modifier to switch their diesel engine to a bi-fuel, which means that without diesel, your engine can run on natural gas without modifying the engine. Another helpful resource is a repair manual. Diesel engines are a tad more complex, but a repair manual specific to your vehicle can be a time saver. To ensure the work is done correctly, it may be wise to leave it to a professional diesel mechanic because they will have a better understanding of how the engine operates.
5. Resources for Electric Vehicle Owners
Electric vehicles are slowly gaining popularity, especially because of their potential to protect the environment from harmful emissions. Although electric cars still make up less than 1% of all vehicles on the road, the EVs market doubled in 2021, according to Sensible Motive. That may also mean that charging stations are scarcer than gas stations. However, there are multiple driver protection resources for electric vehicle owners, including EV chargers.
Electric vehicles are often limited by battery range. Therefore, you need resources to plan your routes and access charging infrastructure. The best free resource is Google Maps because you can get data such as traffic jams and the nearest EV charging stations. If you don’t have temperature-controlled storage space for your car, car storage facilities near you might have special facilities for EVs.
Electric vehicles are quite more expensive than regular vehicles. According to Sensible Motive, they cost $10,000 more on average. Similarly, repair services are bound to be more expensive, so you may require a comprehensive insurance package if you need maintenance services.
6. The Right Parts
Whether you own a diesel-powered vehicle, EV, or specialty vehicle, you need the right car and driver protection parts. According to Mordor Intelligence, the after-sales automotive parts and components market is currently valued at $17.5 billion, showing just how important car parts, such as new car tires and electronics, are to the vehicle market. If you install low-quality car parts, your car’s performance and safety could be in jeopardy.
The right car parts can enhance safety, for example, by providing better braking and handling. High-quality brake pads can increase braking performance, which could be a key factor in stopping an accident. Further, the right car parts will make your car reliable. If your car keeps shutting down or underperforming, you may not have peace of mind as you drive. However, with high-quality car parts, you can rest easy because there won’t be unexpected stops and breakdowns.
If you want to install new car parts, your local car dealer would be a good start. They have more industry knowledge and could advise you on the best car parts. Alternatively, if you need a specific car part, your car manufacturer may be able to help.
7. After an Accident
Even with the best safety practices on the road, sometimes accidents happen. You need driver protection resources for when accidents happen. The first resource list is an emergency plan kit that includes emergency contacts such as local hospitals, your insurance provider, and 24 hour towing services. According to Safer America, 95% of all vehicles involved in a fatal accident were passenger cars or light trucks.
Apart from having an emergency kit, it’s essential to have first-aid training, enabling you to offer first aid before emergency services arrive. Some places you can take a first aid course include the Red Cross, National CPR Foundation, and the National Safety Council. You may also need mental health support after an accident. Accidents can be quite traumatic. Some people may find it difficult to go out driving again, especially if the accident is fatal. However, accident trauma therapists are trained to help you navigate life after an accident and in some cases help you feel comfortable enough to get back behind the wheel.
8. When Accused of a Crime
Sometimes, you may be accused of a crime in your capacity as a driver. You can utilize local resources to protect yourself. Some of the crimes you may be accused of as a driver include driving under the influence, reckless driving, hit and run, and driving without a license. Of course, the best strategy is to always comply with regulations. However, if you find yourself accused of a vehicular crime, professionals such as DUI lawyers can help.
Evidence gathering is key to protecting yourself as a driver. You may be falsely accused of a crime because you don’t have enough evidence to give your lawyer. After an incident, if possible, take pictures and videos of the scene so that you can present it as evidence. Once you hire a legal expert, collaborate with them to ensure you get the best possible outcome, such as a smaller fine or no jail time.
If you can’t afford a lawyer on your own, you can look for legal aid organizations or the public defender’s office to get free legal assistance. You may struggle emotionally with the charges when accused of a vehicular crime. Local support groups and a therapist may help you navigate these emotions.
9. The Proper Representation for Your Case
Apart from being accused of a crime, some incidents may lead to a case that may go into court if you don’t settle. You should get proper representation for your case. For example, motorcycle injury lawyers may protect drivers in personal injury cases. You can use online legal directories or ask friends and family for recommendations.
Even when you don’t go to court, having a qualified lawyer is a good strategy because they have knowledge and experience covering similar cases. They can do an independent investigation and gather evidence on your behalf, making winning your case easier. Lawyers also have superb negotiation and bargaining skills that are handy in getting a prosecutor to give you a better deal.
Some legal firms have legal assistants if you need something filed or access to resources. Even when you’re the accused, you are much better off with a competent legal representative than alone. They can argue for better outcomes even when you pay a penalty.
10. When You Can No Longer Protect Your Vehicle
Some practices and resources are helpful in car and driver protection, but sometimes it’s not enough. You may realize that you’re no longer able to protect your vehicle. Some instances that signal you can no longer protect your vehicle include when the vehicle is too damaged, you can’t afford insurance, or your vehicle is too old. In such cases, auto salvaging services can help you take care of your vehicle and give you some of your invested money.
Regardless of the type of car you drive, from specialty vehicles to electric ones, incidences arise that necessitate you to protect yourself and your vehicle. While this article has highlighted some of the services and resources available, it’s imperative that you take the time to continue to search for whatever may assist you should an issue arise. If you want to protect yourself, getting acquainted with these resources sooner than later is best.