There’s something exciting about renting a car. Perhaps it reminds us of past vacations or important business trips, or maybe it’s just the adventure of trying something new. Despite the novelty, if you plan on renting a car anytime soon, you’ll need to weigh some practical considerations such as where you plan to drive, the number of miles you’ll put on the car and your familiarity with the area.
Know the Most Accident-Prone Cities
North Dakota has the most fatal accidents in the United States, if you compare to the number of miles driven, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is not the big cities that hold the adverse accident statistics, but the rural roads; drivers on rustic motorways have a tendency to drive too fast and not pay attention, because these roads are often unmonitored by law enforcement. This is one reason to get insurance when renting cars. If you do not want to pay high rental car agency rates, get discounted car renter’s insurancebefore you get to the counter. This is a good way to stay protected and save some money.
Beware GPS Dead Zones
If you do not know the area, you will need to depend on your GPS. Often this is an app on your smartphone or a Google Maps connection. For GPS systems that do not have pre-loaded maps, you are at the mercy of your mobile connection. The United States government maintains the Navstar system that all GPS devices use, but they need digital connections to know where you are located. You may want to get a pre-loaded GPS when you lease your car or use an app that does not require an Internet connection and installs the maps on your SD card.
Guard Against the Nation’s Worst Drivers
Just because a city does not top the list of the accident-prone, does not make the population good drivers. There are more factors when creating a list of worst drivers. If you look at little fender-benders, angry drivers and the occasional tendency to run over pedestrians, Miami is the home of the worst drivers. This is according to a Slate article that used the Allstate Driving Report and worked from there. If you are planning on driving through South Florida, you may want to upgrade to a tank or, at least, an SUV.
Prepare for Traffic
No one wants to spend their time sitting in traffic, but especially not on vacation. If you are renting a car for your vacation, take this into consideration: Los Angeles County has the worst traffic in America, according to the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M and reported by the Weather Channel. On a good traffic day, getting from one end of L.A. County to the other will take two hours. And it is never a good traffic day in L.A. If you are travelling with children, splurge for the video system in your rental car to make the time in the car as pleasant as possible. At the very least, satellite radio is a must.