Styling, color and reliability are important factors to consider when choosing a new auto, but safety features should also be high on the list. Improvements in auto safety features have led to reductions in fatal accidents in recent years, but they should never be taken for granted. It’s strange to think that the earliest autos on the road didn’t even have safety belts, but most people wouldn’t consider making a journey without one now.
Whether you’re buying a new or used auto it’s important to check what safety features are fitted A test drive is an opportunity to get a feel for a vehicle’s safety as well as how comfortable it is to drive. Safety belts should fit well and be comfortable enough to wear on long journeys. The internal design and windshield should give you clear vision so you’re aware of other vehicles and what’s going on around you. Before you commit to buy a new auto, take the opportunity to ask about the safety features you’d expect as standard in a modern vehicle.
1) Seat belts.
As well as keeping you inside the vehicle in an accident, modern seat belts are designed to protect prevent injury from collision with the steering wheel and dashboard. Adjustable upper belts allow you to change the position of the shoulder strap depending on your size.
Pretensionsers are standard on modern seat belts, but they only work if the belt is adjusted to be a snug fit. Excess slack is removed instantly by pretensioners in the event of a collision. You should back into fully into the seat to get the maximum benefit of seat belts. Energy management features are a more modern innovation in seat belt design. They can reduce the force of a severe impact on your chest.
2) Air bags.
Front air bags are standard on modern cars, and combined with seat belts they offer excellent protection. There are some circumstances in which air bag deployment can cause injury, but research proves they increase survival rates in serious accidents. It’s strongly advised that you always wear a seat belt in a vehicle with air bags and that you keep a gap of around 10 inches between your chest and the steering wheel.
Side air bags offer additional protection and are becoming increasingly common. They can help to reduce side impacts and damage from collapsing doors.
Air bags can cause injury to children under the age of twelve, and it’s recommended that they sit in the rear of a vehicle for this reason. Rear-facing infant seats should never be placed on the front seat of a vehicle with air bags. Child passenger safty must always be considered.
3) Antilock Brake Systems (ABS).
ABS is another safety feature you should look for when buying a new car. A panic reaction to an obstruction is one of the situations when ABS could save your life. Driving in wet conditions is safer if a vehicle has ABS technology and it’s becoming standard on most modern cars. Having your wheels lock when braking suddenly can inevitably lead to accidents.
New safety features are appearing all the time, but safety belts, air bags and ABS will protect you from the majority of the hazards of driving.