6 Car Safety Tips From NASCAR Drivers

When it comes to experts on car safety, there is no better source than those who drive over 200 mph. NASCAR drivers are some of the most skilled drivers in the world. On top of winning, these drivers put a lot of emphasis on car safety to make sure their cars are ready to perform on the track—something drivers on the roads should take note of.

In 2015, there were 35,092 roadside deaths throughout the country, an increase of 5,103 from 2014. According to Ronald J. Bua, a personal injury attorney in Pittsburgh with over 50 years of experience handling car accident cases, reckless driving and driving at excessive speeds are the leading causes of car accidents—and a trend he sees in his cases far too often.

Many people think that car safety starts behind the wheel, but there are several other tasks that go into to ensuring your car is as safe as possible for the road. Here are some of the best safety tips that NASCAR drivers and their teams follow:

Sit closer to the steering wheel

Although it may sound like something your grandma would recommend, many NASCAR drivers suggest sitting slightly closer to the steering wheel—they call this getting “up on the wheel.” By doing this, it allows drivers to act quicker when things get out of hand because sitting closer to the wheel helps arm muscles engage more quickly. It’s important to remain far enough from the wheel (about 10.5 inches) so as not to get hurt by the impact of the airbag in the event of a collision.

Maintain your car

Going to the auto mechanic is never fun—especially when your simple oil change turns into a several hundred-dollar tab. NASCAR drivers and their teams stop at nothing to make sure their cars are performing their best on the track and they suggest drivers on the road do the same. Drivers can start with making sure routine maintenance is performed on their cars, this includes:

  • Oil changes
  • Battery checks
  • Brake checks
  • Regular smog testing
  • Tire rotations

And while the list can go on and on, it’s important to do your research and make sure you aren’t getting charged for unnecessary work. Making sure your car is safe before anything goes wrong is the #1 way to prevent an accident or breakdown.

Look two seconds ahead

When drivers are in busy traffic, it’s easy to focus only on the car in front of you for cues on when to brake or speed up. However, the best practice is to focus your eyes and attention at least two seconds in front of your car so that you can detect potential dangers early. This equates to about 150 feet ahead in a car that is traveling 50 mph. By scanning the road in front of you, you can get a better gage of possible accidents, lane openings, traffic patterns and so forth, while the car immediately in front of you is still in your peripheral vision.

Seatbelts save lives

This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth noting that 52% of car accident fatalities in 2015 occurred to a passenger who was not wearing a seatbelt. There is a reason NASCAR has such strict rules and regulations about harnesses inside racecars—they know restraints save lives. Many states have taken this issue into consideration and have passed laws making it illegal to operate or ride in a vehicle without a seatbelt on—this is often met with hefty fines for the driver and/or passengers. If you’re driving, it’s important to ensure that every passenger has their seatbelt on and securely fastened. By doing this, you’re not only saving yourself from paying a fine—you could be saving someone’s life.

Don’t engage in distracted driving

Another seemingly obvious tip—put the phone down! Although phone use is the most common form of distracted driving, other forms can include eating, talking with a passenger, adjusting the radio and more. In 2015 alone, distracted driving accounted for 3,477 roadside fatalities and 391,000 injuries. NASCAR drivers are experts at blocking out distractions while they’re behind the wheel—with thousands of screaming fans cheering them on during the race, they must work hard to keep their eyes and attention on the road and away from their adoring fans.

Don’t panic or overreact

Finally, it’s important to remain cool, calm and collected behind the wheel. Overcorrecting a sharp turn or losing focus by panicking are both huge contributors to fatal accidents. Having smooth, calm movements prevents the car from losing its center of balance and potentially rolling over. The less we upset the balance, the more likely the car’s suspension will absorb the bumps and shocks, making it a smoother, safer driving experience. This is another aspect of driving that NASCAR drivers have perfected, since this lets them maneuver in between other racecars and glide through turns.

By taking proper care of our cars, we can help reach the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ultimate goal of zero roadside deaths in the United States. Their “Road to Zero” campaign aims to completely eliminate roadside deaths within the next 30 years. The campaign has pledged $3 million over three years to work with organizations committed to saving lives on the road.

Related:
5 Common Car Safety Features Pet Owners Shouldn’t Ignore
How Safe Are Self Driving Cars?
A Checklist for Traveling with Dogs

47 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Emma Z
Emma L8 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Stephanie s
Stephanie Y8 months ago

Thank you

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Roslyn McBride
Roslyn McBride8 months ago

Noted.

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Ellie M
Ellie M8 months ago

ty

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Glennis W
Glennis W9 months ago

Very informative Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W9 months ago

Great information and advice Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W9 months ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Danuta W
Danuta W9 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Richard A
Richard A9 months ago

A three second following distance to the vehicle in front of you is much safer than two seconds, and much easier to judge than the old "car length per ten miles per hour" rule. Your safe braking distance and ability is greatly marginalized by anything less.

Two seconds really only works well if everyone is paying strict attention to their driving.

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