• Tips for Safe Driving in an Unfamiliar Rental Car

    This article will provide a number of safe driving tips for when you’re driving an unfamiliar rental car. There are a number of things you need to be aware of when driving a rental car to keep you and your loved ones safe. Some of these things are listed below.

    Transmission Type

    You last drove a stick shift 20 years ago and now the rental agency is telling you the only car they have has one. Your best bet to re-learn manual transmission usage is the same as it was when you first learned it. Go find a big empty parking lot and practice. One you get a little more comfortable with it, remember that with a stick shift, torque is transferred to the drive wheels much quicker. Also, if the car is front wheel drive, it’s important to remember that they are more susceptible to what is known as ‘torque steer,” a condition wherein the car tends to pull one direction when accelerating hard.

    Brakes

    You know how good the brakes in your car are. You drive it every day. But you don’t drive this rental car every day. Until you become familiar with the brakes it’s a good idea to do the following things:

    • Leave more “cushion” in front of you when in traffic
    • Don’t wait until the last minute to start slowing down or stopping.
    • If you can, inspect the system for leaks, or at least check the reservoir level.
    • Check to see if there are any brake induced pushing or pulling conditions.

    Steering System

    You know all the little idiosyncrasies that your car exhibits while driving. Like that tendency to drift to the right a bit. When in a car that you’ve never driven before, it’s a good idea to go somewhere with lots of room and see what tendencies it exhibits while driving. It’s a rental car; chances are very good that the suspension isn’t in perfect condition and the alignment is off some.

    Horsepower

    A car with more or less horsepower than what you’re used to is going to act and react very differently than your car. Again, test driving the car to see what it can and can’t do is a very good idea. You’ll need a nice wide open stretch to see how fast it accelerates and decelerates from speed. Until you’re familiar with how the car accelerates especially, it’s a very good idea to leave more room when merging into traffic or making turns across traffic.

    Different Laws

    No matter where you are, ignorance of the law is never going to excuse you from a ticket. Whether you’re going to be traveling internationally or domestically, check the vehicle code or laws where you’re going so that you’re at least a little familiar with some of the differences.

    A rental car is a car that you’re not familiar with. It’s very important that you familiarize with your rental car as much as possible to ensure safe driving. This article has discussed a number of things for you to be aware of when renting. If you heed the advice given here, you’ll be assured of a safe and pleasing rental driving experience.