It’s a statistic that many of us probably don’t think about when we climb behind the wheel, but in 2011, traffic accidents resulted in more than more than 2 million injuries. Safety on the road starts with you, and while safe driving habits are more important than any high-tech features that an automaker can provide, there are a few car safety features that you may want to look for in your next vehicle.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Trying to change lanes while another motorist is in your blind spot can be a frightening situation. Luckily, some automakers are making their cars available with blind spot monitoring systems. These systems usually have a light on the side mirrors that will illuminate when a vehicle is in your blind spot. Many will also sound an alert if you try to change lanes when another vehicle is in your blind spot. New and recently redesigned cars like the Ford Fusion, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Cadenza and Mazda3 are available with a blind spot monitoring system.
Front air bags have been required in new cars for quite a while now, and many newer cars typically feature side-impact air bags, as well. Still, some cars offer an even more comprehensive set of air bags to help keep you safe in a collision, and in many cases, they’re mainstream models. Cars like the Chevrolet Cruze and Toyota Camry come standard with 10 air bags. Automakers like Ford are also offering a new twist on air bag technology, as SUVs like the Explorer and Flex are available with inflatable seat belts, which can help reduce injuries for back-seat passengers.
Electronic Stability Control
The federal government requires all 2012 and newer cars to come with electronic stability control (ESC), and it can provide some extra assurance in dangerous driving situations. ESC analyzes your car’s steering and traction, as well as the likelihood of a rollover. If the system senses danger, it can apply the car’s brakes to one or more wheels to steer it back on track, or limit throttle response to reduce the risk of a skid. Shopping for a car that was built before 2012? Roughly 85 percent of cars built in 2010 were available with ESC, according to Cars.com, so if you do some hunting, you should be able to find a used car that has this feature.
Although technology is no replacement for good driving habits, choosing the right safety features can be another way to help keep you, your passengers and other motorists safe.