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Car Cockpit and Safety Checks

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 24 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Car Cockpit And Safety Checks

Cockpit checks should be carried out every time you get in the car. There are several different elements to this which need to be thoroughly checked before you set off.


All doors should be properly closed before you start driving. This includes passengers. If a door is not closed properly, it can create a distracting rattling noise. In a worse case scenario, a door could come open unexpectedly and cause an accident.


Before setting off, you may need to adjust your seat so that you can easily reach the pedals. This is particularly important if someone else has been driving your car since you last made a car journey. You should never have to stretch to reach the pedals or to use the steering wheel. If this is the case, you probably need to move your seat forward.


If you need to adjust your seat, you may also need to adjust the position of your mirrors so that you can clearly see behind you. You shouldn't have to move your head much to see out of your mirrors - a quick glance in each mirror should be enough to tell you what you need to know.


Steering should not be uncomfortable. If you find yourself overstretching, move your seat forward. Don't get too close to the steering wheel though, or you'll be constantly banging your knees on it.


It is the driver's responsibility to make sure that all passengers under the age of fourteen are wearing a seatbelt. Seat belt offences can result in a fine of up to £500.

Once you have done all of the above checks, you can switch on the engine. Before you do so though, make sure that the handbrake is on and that the gear stick is in neutral. It should then be safe to go through the moving off routine (checking your mirrors and blind spot, and indicating to let approaching traffic know that you are about to move).

Safety Checks

Safety checks are essential to make sure that your car is safe to take out on the road - both for yourself and for other drivers. Things to look out for include:
  • Petrol: If there isn't enough petrol in the tank, you won't get very far before you break down!
  • Oil: As with petrol, there should be enough to cover the journey. You can check this by looking under the bonnet and checking the dipstick.
  • Brake fluid levels
  • Water: Check the water levels and the coolant concentration.
  • Electrics: Make sure that all of the electrics are in good working order, especially your lights, indicators and horn. If they aren't working properly, you will be a potential danger to other drivers.
  • Rubber: Check your tyres to see how much grip they have. There should be at 1.6mm of tread. Tyres should not be damaged.
  • Tyre pressure

Safety checks are essential and should be done regularly, but it's not always practical to do them before every car journey. Cockpit drills should only take a couple of minutes, and should always be done before you set off, especially if you have passengers.

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