The timeless tradition of New Year’s resolutions is met with much enthusiasm by most people around the world every year… for about a week and a half. The New Year forces us to reflect on the year that’s passed and look to the future with optimism and a strong desire to improve.
But this year, instead of promising and then failing the same goals you do every year, try your luck with some simpler and more achievable, yet just as important, car resolutions.
Never drink and drive
Hopefully this one isn’t necessary, but if you’re guilty of occasionally driving to a party, getting a little carried away and driving back home a little over the limit, place this one on the top of your list of resolutions. With close to 10,000 deaths a year caused by drunk drivers, it’s too big a risk for you and your family. Call a taxi, arrange a designated driver or arrange somewhere to stay until the alcohol wears off.
Stop using your phone in the car
Unless you use a hands-free device, don’t answer your calls, or worse, texts while driving. This is an increasing cause of accidents on the road. Get your passenger to answer your calls, read and respond to texts and handle navigation. Riding shotgun is a responsibility, not a privilege.
Stop getting fines!
The flash from a speed or safety camera stops everyone’s hearts. The knowledge that driving just a tiny bit slower could have saved you hundreds of dollars is enough to drive you nuts. So avoid fines by driving at the speed limit, slowing down at yellow lights, and parking legally.
Learn some amateur mechanics
It’s high time you started learning how your car and engine worked. Checking and replacing your own oil and filter, car batteries and alternator could save you tonnes of money. Even if you don’t know how to fix something, knowing what’s wrong could avoid a dodgy mechanic ripping you off.
Clean your car every fortnight
Once a fortnight isn’t as good as once a week, but let’s keep things achievable. Vacuum the car, tidy your glove compartment, wash the windows, wax the exterior and clean any stains. A clean car will help avoid embarrassment when giving people rides and is a statement of maturity and cleanliness. You’ll appreciate a clean car and it’ll do wonders for your morning mood.
Take regular pleasure drives
Driving can be a stressful chore sometimes. Driving in rush hour traffic to and from work, picking up and dropping off kids at school and friends’ houses, driving to the airport or hospital in a rush, or even the shopping centre where parking is impossible to find… these things can leave a distaste for driving. But remember that driving can be stress-relieving. Go for a drive to the beach, through forests or up the mountains. Take some time to yourself on a peaceful and quiet drive after a busy week.
Maintain your car
It might seem expensive and bothersome, but it’s cheaper and much more convenient than stopping in the middle of a freeway on your way to work because the fan belt snapped, which, had you known it was faulty, could have cost you $35 and 15 minutes to repair. It’s cheaper to buy tools and parts than to buy cars should an accident result in an economic ride off.
Clean the garage
More than clean it, organise it and make sure it doesn’t return to the state it’s in now. The garage shouldn’t be a hole to dump all your junk in, but a man’s work space: a place to repair, not only the car, but furniture, electronics and anything else that needs attention. It should be a workshop, of sorts.
Use premium petrol once in a while
Treat your car to some premium fuel once in a while. It burns more completely and cleans the engine. Your car will appreciate it, and so will you.
Assemble an emergency car kit
You should always have an emergency kit with tools, blankets, torches and a first aid kit. Include anything you think might be necessary should the car break down on a daily trip to work or a long road trip on your holidays.