Drive Safer: Making Car Adjustments

Published on 27 March 2015

Given the many extra safety features and gadgets today’s cars come equipped with, driving is a far more comfortable experience than it used to be. That said, those features are only of benefit if you know how to use them.

It’s crucial to make adjustments before setting off on a journey. You’ll be comfortable and more importantly, safe. Here are some handy tips to safer driving…

Your Seat

First things first – is your seat optimally positioned? If you share your car with others, you may find it’s been pushed back or forwards, leaving you either too far from the wheel and pedals, or uncomfortably cramped. Sit into the car and make any necessary adjustments. Make sure that any stray objects (bottles, children’s toys) haven’t rolled under your feet as these can affect your use of the pedals.

Steering Wheel

A lot of drivers forget to make adjustments to their steering wheels, resulting in overextended or uncomfortably bent arms, which can be dangerous. Many vehicles now feature adjustable steering columns that position the wheel in accordance with your body’s proportions. Wheel adjustments should be made in tandem with your seat; the correct seating position and wheel height will allow a clear view of the dashboard through the rim. Once you’re comfortable, it’s time to assess your mirrors.


It’s essential that your mirrors are correctly positioned; you need to be able to see traffic behind and on either side of you. Side mirrors are easily bumped and knocked by irresponsible drivers, so do a quick check before setting off and make sure you can see traffic on either side of your car.

Here’s how to quickly perform a mirror adjustment check:

  • Driver-side mirror: From the driver’s seat, lean your head toward the driver-side window until it just touches the glass. Adjust the mirror until you see just beyond the side of your car. You should not see the side of your car, but rather the space that would be the traffic lane to the right of the vehicle.
  • Passenger-side mirror: Lean as far over to the centre of the car as you can. Adjust the passenger-side mirror until you see just beyond the side of your car. Again, you should not the see side of your car, but rather the space that would be the traffic lane to the left of the vehicle.
  • Rear-view mirror: Adjust so you can see behind you.


If you’re driving a car for the first time, take the time before setting off to familiarise yourself with its levers, dials and indicators. Trying to figure these out while driving is distracting and could result in an accident. Have a read through the manual so you know how to switch on headlights, windscreen wipers, car demister/heater and work the radio.

Seat Belt

Finally, before taking off, buckle up and ensure you wear your seat belt. When travelling with several people in the car you should routinely inspect all seat belts in your vehicle, checking that they're not cut or badly frayed, they operate correctly and when pulled out fully, they  retract automatically and the buckles work properly. Stick to the general rule and law regardless of the vehicle you're in: if seat belts are fitted, they must be worn.


Car Insurance with Liberty


Safer driving prepares you for a successful journey, and so too does Car insurance you can count on. At Liberty, we offer Breakdown Assistance and Windscreen Cover among our many great benefits. You can also get custom-built cover, fast claims and up to 25% off* when you quote and buy your car insurance online. 


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*Online discount applies to new private car insurance policies only. Maximum discount €300. Subject to minimum premium and applied before optional covers. Acceptance criteria, terms and conditions apply.