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Remember safety while buying and driving your new vehicle

Posted on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 11:15:05 AM

Holiday weekends are a big time for car buying, but they are also a popular reason to hit the road - resulting in a high number of crashes. According to the National Safety Council, more than 42,000 people were estimated to be injured this past Labor Day weekend. And for drivers everywhere, safety at all times should be a top priority.

While safe driving should be the most important goal, certain vehicles can make that an easier proposition. To shed some light on safety during the auto financing and buying process, Home Loan Investment Bank's Christine Dikdan offered some crucial advice.

For starters, she explained that new technology not related to safety can actually prove distracting. When you are shopping for a new vehicle, consider keeping bells and whistles to a minimum and instead focus on airbags, backup cameras and similar features. How you drive and use these gadgets can help you improve your on-the-road safety.

"In a grey-sky atmosphere, I also flip the daytime headlight switch to 'on' for more visibility, especially on the highway where excessive speed, out-of-the-blue braking and rapid lane changes may occur," Dikdan added. "I also think too much technology makes us a bunch of 'road drones,' meaning over-reliance on information that has just as much chance of being inaccurate if it's not functioning properly as opposed to your own eyes looking at the road ahead."

Most importantly, know that accidents do happen. Dikdan stressed common sense and a best-practices approach for preventing such incidents.

"Regularly check and take action with your vehicle regarding tire pressure, odd noises and oil changes for optimum performance," she noted. "Always drive alert and ready for anything with both hands on the wheel. I like to leave a lot of space between me and the vehicles ahead - this way I am not boxed in should I have to react quickly to maneuver out of a tricky situation to avoid an accident."

Like with this past Labor Day, holidays are a time for travel. When on the road, remember to adjust your behavior accordingly.

"My favorite way to handle holiday travel - especially on a longer road trip - is to plan your driving around peak travel time, if possible," Dikdan pointed out. "Think Friday afternoon during a work rush hour combined with a holiday weekend heading to the New Hampshire mountains or lakes region. Forget it. I would rather leave late at night or, most preferably, at the crack of dawn the following morning for a stress free ride and fun adventure."