Nearly every major holiday is heralded by a slew of news articles warning about the increased dangers on the roadways during the upcoming festivities, and Labor Day is no different. Texas Department of Transportation statistics showed Labor Day weekend ranked fourth among major 2017 holiday weekends in number of deadly crashes and number of fatalities from car accidents (Thanksgiving weekend ranked third, but it also counts data for a longer weekend). These spikes are mostly attributed to increased alcohol consumption, and staying off the road is the most reliable way to avoid drunk drivers. But while you’re planning a safe holiday, spend a few extra minutes tackling a vehicle safety issue that could affect you any time of the year: mechanical failures.
No matter how safely you drive, a mechanical failure can still cause a dangerous or deadly accident. Automobile manufacturers issue recalls when they discover a potential safety issue with one of their vehicles, but it’s not uncommon for recall notices to be sent to a prior address, to the previous owner of a used car, or simply lost in the mail. One of the easiest things you can do to help protect yourself is to regularly check whether your vehicle has any open recalls or safety issues. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s searchable recall and safety complaint database lets you check by year, make, and model, or look up your individual Vehicle Identification Number. And it’s more common than you may think: in 2017, there were 813 new recalls affecting more than 30 million vehicles-11 percent of all the vehicles in America.
Although mechanical failures account for a much smaller percentage of accidents than human error, they can be just as deadly. You can help protect yourself by checking for recalls on your vehicle frequently.