Car Safety Features You Shouldn’t Skip
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.
A Rearview Camera
Backing out of your driveway may not seem like a risky maneuver, but you might be surprised by the number of accidents that happen when a car is in reverse. KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit child safety advocacy group, reports that more than 1,100 children died in back-over accidents between 1991 and 2012. The federal government recommends rearview cameras now, but there is no law requiring them. However, new vehicles like the Chrysler Town & Country, GMC Terrain, Honda Accord and Subaru Forester all come standard with a rearview camera.
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.
Forward Collision Warning
Think of forward collision warning systems as a second set of eyes, which are looking ahead to make sure that you’re not approaching an object too quickly. These systems use radar, lasers or cameras to scan the road and warn the driver if there’s a risk of a collision. More advanced forward collision warning systems can use the car’s brakes to slow it down if a crash is unavoidable. Research shows that choosing this system could help reduce your chances of a collision. Vehicles like the Buick Encore, Ford Taurus, Toyota Prius and Volvo S60 are all available with forward collision warning systems.
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.
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