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Rental cars: 3 things to check before you drive

If you plan to jet off for the holidays, you might also be planning to rent a vehicle during your visit. Renting a car might make you worried about wrecking it, then receiving an outrageous repair bill from the company. However, that’s not the biggest threat; driving an unfamiliar car can compromise your well-being.

The new scenery and car can be an excellent breath of fresh air, as long as you have a way to safely adjust to the differences.

Reservation and insurance

Often, travelers will reserve their rental car at the same time as they book a flight and hotel. When you make a reservation, you should check coverage with your insurance provider. The risk of an accident could be higher when you don’t know the area very well. You may want to adjust your insurance if you aren’t well-covered under your current policy.

Maps or GPS

If you’re traveling somewhere for the first time, the roads are probably new to you. You may have a GPS device or use your phone for navigation. Bring a temporary mount if you need one so that you don’t need to look down constantly.

Reviewing and setting directions to your next location before you leave the lot can give you a better sense of the route, which can reduce anxiety of being in an unknown area. Take note of major highways and landmarks that can help you find your bearings.

Buttons and dials

Once you’re out on the open road, you need to know how to quickly operate the vehicle’s systems. In the parking lot, take a few moments to practice turning on the wipers, turn signals, defroster, lights, radio and any special features. Adjust the mirrors and temperature settings. Finally, make sure that your seatbelt works properly.

Accidents can be immensely more frightening while you’re in an unfamiliar place. Just remember that if you do crash abroad in a rental car, your Washington attorney can still help you.

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