7 Tips For A Healthier Car

A woman smiling in her car(BlackDoctor.org) — Having a comfy car is a priority (second only, of course, to staying safe) if, like the average American woman, you spend an hour or more a day behind the wheel.

Here, the latest road-tested must-haves to make your time in the car safer and less stressful.

1. Use your head(set)

Fiddling with your phone can jack up your accident risk by 300%. If you must call while moving, have your cell phone hooked up to a Bluetooth-compatible headset.

2. Make a clean sweep
A recent study found that most cars harbor nearly 300 types of bacteria in just one square inch—some of which contribute to funky smells. Clean all surfaces, especially smudges on your windshield that can wreck visibility, with glass cleaner every time you fill up. Leather seats should be de-germed and to freshen up the scent, try a natural deodorizer.

3. Can clutter

A messy car can drive up stress. Toss wrappers and receipts into a cute fabric tote. Line it with a small trash bag, and fit it over your seat back.

4. Check ratings
If you’re car shopping, safety ratings deserve more than a quick glance. SaferCar.gov offers a search tool to find out which new and used cars will protect you best in a crash (thanks to features like side and rear air bags). Top 2010 models include the Hyundai Sonata sedan, Subaru Outback crossover wagon, and Chrysler Town & Country van.

5. Stay on course
A GPS doesn’t just keep you from taking your eyes off the road to fuss with maps—it may even save your relationship.
A recent poll found that 55% of couples’ car squabbles are the result of getting lost. Just be sure you key in your destination before you hit the road.

6. Perk up

A little caffeine can help you drive safer by making you less drowsy, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If tea is more your thing, try an infuser; it can steep while you drive.

7. Captivate the kids

Nothing is more distracting or dangerous than looking behind you to play referee, but kids often act up most when they know you’re not paying attention. Make sure they have things to play with in the car—like a portable Etch A Sketch or an electronic handheld game.