Information, tips and reminders from those who work to keep Vermont drivers safe –
VT State Police, VT Department of Motor Vehicles, VT Agency of Transportation, VT Sheriffs Association, and AARP Driver Safety, members of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance.
Most of us are well aware by now of the risks of distracted driving to ourselves and others. The very real risk of distracted parking is not as well known. Keyless ignition systems are a fairly recent innovation, but have become increasingly common in new vehicles. Because you can use a button to turn your vehicle on and off without a key in the ignition, you can leave the key fob in your purse or pocket and are no longer forced to put the vehicle in park and turn it off in order to take the key with you. More and more of us can testify that it’s entirely too easy now (and even easier in those quiet hybrids), especially when we’re busy and distracted, to forget and leave the car running by accident.
When this happens in an attached garage, it doesn’t take long for carbon monoxide fumes to fill the garage and begin to leak into the house, where the colorless and odorless gas may not be noticed. Without prevention or detection, a sleeping family may never wake up. Carbon monoxide detectors in your home can provide a warning, and you should have them. If the alarm sounds, or you simply realize what’s happened, evacuate the house immediately and call 911. But the best solution is to be sure that you always remember to turn off the car.
Other dangers include rollaway when the vehicle is left in gear, or theft in the case of models that allow the car to be driven until it runs out of gas or is turned off. Some auto manufacturers are beginning to add warning or automatic shutoff systems in newer vehicles, but many cars on the road still lack those protections and there is no uniform standard. To stay safe, always know how your car (or rental car) operates and establish the habit of making sure your vehicle is in park and turned off before you open the door every time. It goes well with the habit of buckling and unbuckling your safety belt.
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