If you’ve been involved in a serious car crash, you may not be able to drive your own car once you’re healed enough to get behind the wheel again. Whether it’s still being fixed or has been totaled, you may be driving a rental car for a while.
Even if you get a car that’s the same make as yours but newer, even a few upgrades can make a big difference. When seconds can matter, it’s important to know how everything works and where all the controls are. Not being able to turn on the windshield wipers, lights or defroster when you need to can put you and others at serious risk.
Determine where everything is and make sure it’s working
Before you drive the car away from the lot, find the controls for the things noted above as well as turn signals, horn and emergency blinkers. Make sure they’re all working properly.
If there’s newer technology you’re not used to, like warning lights and sounds, be sure you know what they mean. Don’t disable them if you find them annoying. They’re there for a reason. Adjust the seat, mirrors, steering wheel for your height and size.
Your rental car may have more entertainment and communications options than you’re used to. If you want to listen to music, the news or a podcast, figure out how to do that before you get on the road. The same is true if you need to use the GPS system.
Even if the car lets you have hands-free access to your phone, it may be best to put it in “Driving” or “Do Not Disturb” mode. Having texts and phone calls pop up on the system while you’re driving – especially if you’re not used to it – can be highly distracting.
Remember that if your crash was caused by another driver, you can seek compensation for your rental car for as long as yours is being repaired. While medical bills may be your biggest crash-related expense, be sure you get the compensation you deserve for all of your expenses and damages. Having sound legal guidance can help.