Last updateWed, 20 Sep 2017 9am

Here are 13 important safety tips for back-to-school drivers

As you head back to school later this month, keep yourself and others safe by following these driving tips.

Rule 1. Don't forget to wipe. Operate the windshield washer system before driving. The windshield wipers should clear the windshield in one full cycle.

Rule 2. Don't talk and drive. Having a cell phone is important in case of an accident, but talking and driving don't mix. Keep the volume of the radio low enough that you can hear emergency vehicles. Drivers need to be fully alert and focused on the road.

Rule 3. Do get to know your vehicle. Information on your vehicle is found in the owner's manual. But read it before you drive.

Rule 4. Relax and enjoy the ride. Remember, fast aggressive driving saves only 30 to 40 seconds, on average. Remember to buckle up.

Rule 5. Lighting is your communication link to other drivers. Once a month, inspect all external lighting. The ignition must be turned on to check lighting such as the blinkers.

Rule 6. Tire safety. Get into the habit of walking around your vehicle before you get in. Look at the tires' inflation level. Do they all look the same? Proper tire inflation specifications are located on the door jam, gas cap door or trunk deck lid. Learn the proper procedure for changing a tire.

Rule 7. Check the engine oil. The vehicle should be on a level surface with the engine stopped. Wait three to five minutes before checking the oil.

Rule 8. Check the engine coolant. Do not raise the hood if steam is visible. If the radiator cap must be removed, the vehicle should be COLD. Remember, engine coolant can be very hot.

Rule 9. Check the transmission, brake, power steering and washer fluid regularly.

Rule 10. Check the clutch master cylinder fluid regularly. Clutch fluid can usually be seen through a clear reservoir. Most clutch fluid reservoirs have a minimum and maximum mark. If the clutch fluid level is not visible, the vehicle may not shift into gear easily.

Rule 11. Adjust your mirrors. The rearview mirror should be adjusted and checked in its day and night positions. Side mirrors should be adjusted so that you can barely see your vehicle's reflection. This helps to reduce the blind spot.

Rule 12. Keepf these items on hand. first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, flares, water, ice scraper, emergency phone numbers, equipment to change a flat tire.

Rule 13. Do not drive if you are impaired in any way - by fatigue, alcohol, drugs or emotional stress.

The foregoing safety tips were adapted from rules compiled by CollegeBound Teen Magazine and Precision Tune Auto Care.

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