Innovative technology is playing a significant role in the safety features of new vehicles. Some features can reduce the chances of an accident happening, while others are designed to keep you and your passenger safer when an accident does happen.
Many car insurance companies offer policy discounts for some safety features, so be sure and check with your insurance provider before purchasing a new vehicle.
Safety Features for Crash Avoidance
The safety mechanisms in this portion are designed to help reduce the odds of being involved in a car crash.
1. Forward Collision Warning
Forward-facing sensors monitor the distance and relative speed between your vehicle and vehicles in front of you. The system will alert the driver with sound or visual cues, allowing you to brake in time. Some forward warning systems also work with autonomous braking features, triggering automatic braking.
2. Lane Departure Sensors
A lane departure warning system uses a camera near the rearview mirror and tracks your vehicle’s position in the lane. A movement to leave the lane, such as merging without signaling, creates an alert. Some cars have systems that also use light braking or steering to correct a potentially dangerous lane departure. Along with lane departure sensors, some newer vehicles also have warning systems to alert the driver of pedestrians too close to the car.
3. Back-up Cameras
Many vehicles now come standard with a back-up camera. Back-up cameras help drivers avoid collisions when reversing and also serve as a crucial warning signal if a child or pet darts behind a vehicle.
4. Blindspot Warning
Using cameras or radar, cars with this feature will sound an alarm and flash a visual signal when another vehicle moves into the blind spot on your vehicle. Outside mirrors with a small, convex section for a wide-angle are also effective in avoiding blindspot crashes.
Some drivers do not like autonomous features, such as automatic braking or blindspot warning systems, because they can issue false warnings, startling the driver. It is essential to distinguish the difference between using technology as a safety assist and dependence on technology that can be detrimental to your safety in a motor vehicle.
Make sure you are familiar with the crash avoidance features on your vehicle and know how they work ahead of time. It is important to remember that while these features can help reduce accidents, they are not meant to substitute for remaining alert and cautious behind the wheel. Over-reliance on safety features can increase the risk of being involved in an accident.
Features Designed to Prevent or Mitigate Injuries
While avoiding a crash is always safest, it is not always possible. When an accident does happen, you want a vehicle with a high crash test rating, designed to keep you and your passengers as safe as possible. Features that improve safety during a crash include:
Airbags work bests if they deploy from all common contact points in a vehicle. Look for a car that has passenger and driver side front and side airbags for the most protection.
All modern vehicles come equipped with seatbelts, but not all seatbelts are created equally. Enhanced features, such as pretensioners, instantly retract the belts to take up slack in the milliseconds before an impact. The pretensioners also help position occupants correctly to take full advantage of a deploying airbag.
LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) systems are designed to make it easier to attach child safety seats correctly. Not all LATCH systems are easy to use, so if you have small children, examine the LATCH system before making your purchase.
Other Important Safety Features
When considering safety, there are other things that matter more than new technology. Physics means that heavier vehicles will fare better in a crash. A lower center of gravity will give you more control over the vehicle, reducing the chances of a rollover accident.
Stability control is required on all new vehicles, and after 2018, most vehicles manufactured are required to have a reversing camera. Mandated safety features contribute to the overall safety profile of newer vehicles.
Many advancements in the architecture of vehicles have happened in the last decade. Vehicles now come with engineered crumple zones, and crash-energy dispersion paths make them much safer than older vehicles. In addition to architectural changes, newer vehicles are built with materials that rate better in crash testing.
Consider the Importance of Vehicle Maintenance
A properly maintained vehicle is essential for optimum safety. Broken lights, dirty windows, balding tires, and bad brakes contribute to an increased likelihood of collisions. Make sure your car is inspected and properly maintained to maximize safety. Choose the proper seating position that gives you an unobstructed view out the windshield and proper mirror positioning to ensure maximum visibility.
Safety features cannot compensate for irresponsible driving. Distracted driving has surpassed drunk driving as the number one cause of accidents. Driving under the influence is illegal and dangerous and driving while exhausted can be a recipe for disaster.