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4 Tips for Staying Safe in Your Rental Car

Have you ever been driving a rental car when it starts to rain and you can’t find the wiper switch? Here are some great rental car tips.

Rental Car Tips

The experience of driving a rental car can actually be pretty sweet, as it’s always fun to take a different set of wheels for a spin while your own car’s in the shop or when you’re out of town on vacation. The fact that you’re driving something completely unfamiliar to you can definitely make you a little tense though, especially if you’re also trying to find your way around an unfamiliar city.

The following tips can help you stay safe and drive more confidently.

1. Look Your Car Over First

Resist the urge to hop right into your rental and drive off into the sunset without a second thought. Take a few moments to perform a quick inspection first.

Are the fluid levels where they should be? Is there gas in the car, and are the tires full? Make sure you also look the car over for dings, scratches, and flaws. Check out the mileage as well, as you don’t want to find out you’re driving a heavily used vehicle under the wrong circumstances.

If anything at all doesn’t seem right with the car, you’ll definitely want to bring it up before you leave the lot.

2. Get to Know the Car

Every car has its own little quirks and anomalies, so always take a minute to become familiar with a new vehicle before you hit the open road. Figure out where all the controls are located, and be sure you know how to operate each of them.

Make sure your mirrors, seat, and temperature control system are adjusted to your liking. Then drive around the lot a couple of times to get your bearings and make sure you’re comfortable. 

3. Know Your Location

If you’ll be driving your rental to or around an unfamiliar area, you’ll definitely want to spend some time studying a map of the area in question before you embark on your trip. Plan your route in advance, and make sure you understand how the in-vehicle GPS system works.

You should also always make sure you’re aware of local traffic laws in your rental car at all times. Some states have some quirky laws in place that you may not be expecting. 

4. Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a major safety hazard no matter what car you’re driving, but it can be especially dangerous when you’re behind the wheel of an unfamiliar vehicle. In addition to making sure your radio and settings are the way you like them before you start driving, consider powering your phone down or stashing it completely out of sight.

Even hands-free methods of making or taking calls while you’re driving are considered unsafe, so err on the side of caution and take your phone completely out of the equation. Avoid eating, drinking, or talking too much to any passengers you have traveling with you as well.

A little preparedness and caution go a long way when it comes to feeling comfortable behind the wheel of a rental car. Always make safety your number one priority, and all will be well. 

Rental Car Tips

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Friday 11th of March 2022

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Ana Kurland

Tuesday 11th of June 2019

I take a phone video of me going around the car and commenting on its state. If I see dings/scratches, I zoom in on them. That way I have proof of the car's condition if there is a claim.

Janice Brady

Wednesday 12th of June 2019

Great idea!