Renting a car shouldn’t be a big deal, but if you’re not careful, it really can be. Car rental companies tend to be careful with their vehicles, but you still need to check the car out before you head out.

Everyone knows you need to check the vehicle for scratches and dents before you sign the papers, but did you know you should also check for safety features?

Lights: Make sure all the lights are working fine, including high and low beams, turn signals and fog lights. If any of these are out, it could cause an accident.

Seat belts: Check all the seat belts. Each one should pull out smoothly, clip into place and lock if the brakes are hit.

Gauges: All gauges should be working fine. Start the car up and idle it for a couple of minutes to make sure no dash lights come on and everything is normal.

Brakes: Test the brakes. While they should be carefully maintained, you never know what the exact schedule is. So test the brakes and make sure they let you stop abruptly if needed.

Mirrors: All mirrors should be completely adjustable. If they aren’t or if they are stuck, ask for help or request a different car. You need to see perfectly in order to drive safely.

Your safety shouldn’t be ignored just because you’re renting a car. Even though car rental companies tend to be careful about their maintenance, you should always check, just in case.

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