If you are shopping for a new or used car, it is a must to determine if it ensures adequate safety to its occupants. One of the first ways to asses this is to give the car a test drive, both in daytime and night time. Check for everything – the windshield, tires, breaks, headlights, etc. Everything should be working well and in good condition. However, these standard components of a car are sometimes not enough to ensure safety. Today, there are already a lot of technological advancements that have also been incorporated in the design and manufacturing of a vehicle to make sure that the owners will be safe in their everyday use of the car, as well as in unexpected events. So what are these features that every car should have, exactly?
Seat belts, seat belts, seat belts! Although a standard component of all cars, the seatbelt remains as one of the most preventive measures for injury in an event of an accident. The most important thing you can do to protect your life is to buckle your seatbelt. This is also of course, the law. In addition, there are now enhanced features that improve seatbelt function and efficacy too. One of which is the Seatbelt pretensioners feature, which instantly retracts the belts to take up slack during a frontal impact. There are also Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) systems which aim to make child-seat installation easier and more secure.
Having air bags is also a vital feature. After encountering a frontal collision, these air bags inflate to prevent occupants from hitting the dashboard, steering wheel, and windshield. Air bags were initially installed only on the steering wheel but it has also been incorporated into the passenger side of the dashboard, the seats, doors, and even the roof. However, it is important to remember that maximum air bag efficacy would actually depend on the use of seat belts. Before purchasing a car you should verify how many and at what locations the vehicle has air bags.
Head Protection and Restraints. These features may range from foam or other energy absorbing material to vehicle seat extensions that limit head movement during a rear-impact crash. It varies among vehicle models and manufacturers so ask your car dealer about these specific features.
Antilock Brake Systems are also a must have. Antilock Brake Systems prevent a vehicle’s wheels from locking during immediate and forceful braking. It allows the driver to retain effective steering control while emergency braking, so that the car can be maneuvered around an obstacle or another vehicle that should be avoided.
Traction Control is also beneficial, especially if starting off in wet or icy conditions. This involves an electronically controlled system that aims to limit the wheel spin during acceleration so that the drive wheels have maximum traction. Electronic Stability Control, sometimes considered a sub-type of Traction Control, are also helpful during instances of extreme steering maneuvers. This technology helps keep the vehicle on its intended path during a turn, therefore avoiding sliding or skidding.
There are actually a lot of features available and I am sure that there will be more to come in the next years or so. For now, you ask yourself, “Do I need all of these features?” Maybe not right now but remember that anything can happen on the road, and the more safety features the better. And in an undesirable event, your first line of protection may be one of the features mentioned above, which can either save a life or prevent sever injury. So is it worth it, even if it costs more? Definitely.