Car Care: Tidy habits mean safer driving
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Every year, the average Auckland motorist spends up to 20 working days stuck in traffic in their car.
With so much of our lives spent in our vehicles, and the cabin being a relatively confined space, it’s easy to see how they can become cluttered.
A busy car isn’t easy on the eye, and it can also cause distractions and lead to other safety hazards. One of the most important places to keep clear is the driver’s area. Nothing should be placed in a position where it can obstruct the use of the pedals, as it could prevent you from reacting as quickly as necessary to changes in the traffic flow or potential road hazards.
Many motorists will kick off their jandals or sneakers when driving. It’s not ideal to drive barefoot but, if you do, make sure your footwear is relegated to the back seat.
It’s also vital to keep the driver’s critical vision clear. When using GPS, many motorists tend to stick their phones or tablets to the windscreen, but we’d recommend attaching it to the dashboard or an air vent instead.
Avoid putting items underneath the driver’s seat in case they move forward during braking. And don’t balance unsecured items on the dash or in cup holders that aren’t designed to fit them.
Many newer cars have storage beneath the seat and car seat organisers are another great place to stock loose items. Sometimes these are built into a seat cover, and a lot of cars have a pocket built into the back of the front seats.
It goes without saying ... but taking everything out of your car once it’s no longer needed is a good place to start when trying to be organised.
Remove any rubbish and, if you’re a driver who eats on the go, use leftover grocery bags to collect rubbish.
The biggest source of clutter in some vehicles can come from items that aren’t often used, such as sports equipment or camping gear. Keeping these items in convenient containers makes them easier to remove if they aren’t needed during the next ride. This will also allow you to easily store the containers at home or in the garage until they’re required again. If the equipment is heavy, you’ll benefit from improved fuel efficiencies.
If you’re connecting a device to a power supply, keep the leads tidy and make use of custom-designed solutions to house your common road trip accessories. Items such as holders for sunglasses or dash-mounted phone carriers are useful.
For those with children, toys and food crumbs are usually the main source of mess in your car. Keeping a hand-held vacuum in the garage or parking space is always helpful.
If there have been a few snacks on the road, quickly run through the car with a vacuum when you get home. This will help keep the car looking and smelling clean.
If your passenger is of the furry variety, consider purchasing a large pet hammock or seat cover. These connect to the headrests between two rows of seating and help keep pet hair or mess all in one place.
They’re great for protecting your seat upholstery — and when not needed, simply remove, shake and store.
Clutter in a vehicle isn’t just a physical nuisance, it can inhibit the ability to focus as well.
Keeping your car organised makes it look good, but it also feels good, too. It can increase mental concentration on the road and reduce stress, so why wouldn’t you keep your vehicle tidy?
After all, it’ll create a pleasant and safe driving experience for you and your passengers.