Researchers estimate that there are five million muscle car owners in the United States alone. That means there are at least five million muscle cars here as well. Muscle cars, like the Chevy Camaro, are defined as mid-size cars with at least a V-8 engine. Although most muscle cars are current models, there are other muscle cars, such as the 1960s Mustang, that are vintage muscle cars. If you own a vintage muscle car, you have to be ready to face the unexpected. Not sure what those occasions might be? Here are some tips for expecting the unexpected when you own a vintage muscle car.

Check Your Car Before You Drive It

Before you set out down the road, you’ll want to have your car checked out. You may pay a lot of attention to the body of your car, as well as the engine, but there are other areas of your car you’ll want to make sure are road ready. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check your tires and make sure that you have enough tread. There’s an easy way to do that. Place a penny upside down in between the treads of your tire. If you can see Abraham Lincoln’s head, your tire tread is too low, and you will need new tires.

You can also check your brakes periodically. Many service stations and auto repair shops will check your brakes for free. Accidents are often caused by faulty brakes, especially in wet weather, so it is important to maintain your brake pads. Sometimes, they can be the difference between missing an accident and having an accident.

As you’re headed out, be sure and double-check that your battery is at full charge. Also, muscle cars can use up a lot of coolant, so you’ll want to make sure to check your coolant as well. All of these preparations, especially before a long trip means that you’ll be much less likely to have an accident on the road.

Put Your Phone Down

You may not think it is a big deal, but a lot of accidents happen because people text and drive. In fact, 1.6 million accidents each year are caused by distracted drivers texting and driving. These accidents also cause nearly 400,000 injuries. If you take your eyes off the road for a second, that is exactly how long it takes to cause an accident. When you’re tempted to text while driving, think about putting your phone in your purse or in your glove compartment. Cell phone companies also have ways for you to lock your phone when you are driving as well. Your muscle car won’t be nearly as gorgeous or fast if you smash it up.

Drive Safely

Another huge cause of accidents is unsafe driving. In fact, one Orange County accident lawyer from a local law office, The Barnes Firm, says that no matter what, you should always drive your vintage muscle car safely. Should you get into an accident, you will still have to go through the same channels as you would with a sedan or station wagon.

Think about those common safety tips you learned when you first started driving. One of the most important rules to follow is to maintain a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you. You need to follow at least two car lengths behind the car in front of you in order to be safe. Are you behind a truck? If you’re behind a huge truck, you need to follow at least three car lengths behind the truck. That’s because 18 wheelers need more following distance as they take longer to stop. If the weather is rainy or snowy–which doesn’t happen often in Southern California–you’ll need to make your following distances even longer.

It can be very tempting to drive that amazing muscle car as fast as possible, but driving too quickly is dangerous. The faster you drive your muscle car, the more difficult it is to maintain control of your vehicle. You may think that your reaction time in your muscle car is lightning fast, but your reaction time will be slower if the weather is bad, or if you have had a couple of beers. Also, the faster you drive, the more damage will be done to your car if you happen to have a wreck.

While owning a muscle car is one of the best things anyone can experience, you will want your muscle car to last for a long time. One of the best ways to keep your muscle car around is to drive safely and keep up the maintenance on your car. The better you drive, and the better your car is maintained, the less likely your car will end up junked.