You’re healed enough after a crash to get behind the wheel again, but your car hasn’t. Maybe it’s still in the shop or it’s been totaled and you’ll need to buy a new one. Whatever the case, you may need to rent a car to get around for a time.
It can be daunting enough to drive your old familiar car after a collision. Driving a different one can be especially challenging. You’ll do better if you choose one that’s similar to what you’re used to driving.
Unless you get the exact make, model and year of your own car (which is unlikely), you’ll have to get used to some differences. The good news is that it probably has some new safety features. Nonetheless, you want to prevent any unnecessary distractions while you’re adjusting to it.
Let’s look at some tips for staying safe in a rental car.
Make sure you know your way around the car
Every car is a little different, so here’s where to start acclimating:
- Be sure the seat is adjusted for your size (and how to change it). Know where the lights, windshield wipers, turn signal and horn are. You don’t want to wait until you need it to find out the horn isn’t working.
- Figure out how to tune the radio and other entertainment features so you can set them before you start driving. You don’t want any added distractions. Hitting the wrong button can cause you to become distracted trying to undo whatever it is you’ve done (and you may not know what you even pushed).
- If there are safety features you aren’t familiar with, learn what they do and what various alerts mean. They can make your drives safer, so don’t turn them off.
- If the car has GPS or you can use your phone’s map app, learn how to use that and make a habit of setting it before you start out anywhere unless you’re absolutely sure you know where you’re going.
If your crash was caused by another driver, be sure that your settlement covers the cost of your rental car for as long as you need it in addition to all of your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses and damages. It may be wise to have legal guidance to help ensure that you get the maximum you deserve.