Car crashes typically kill between 30,000 and 40,000 people in the United States annually. The most important thing you can do to avoid injury or death in a collision is use your seat belt. Aside from that, there are other important safety devices that could prevent crashes or protect you if there is one. Some are relatively new, and others are older features that have drastically improved over the years. These top 10 car safety features could save your life.
1. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
Anti-lock braking prevents your brakes from locking up and your car from skidding when you slam on the brakes. The system pumps your breaks up to 20 times per second, which allows you to stay in control of your vehicle.
2. Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
This feature applies the brakes to individual wheels when skidding is detected. ECS could prevent single vehicle fatal crashes by 50%, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It is now included in all models made in 2012 or later.
3. Emergency Assist
Systems like GM’s OnStar and BMW Assist can automatically call emergency personnel to the scene if you are in a collision and send the crash details to the police.
4. Advanced Frontal Airbag Systems
Airbags have been in cars since the 1970’s, but advanced frontal airbags are far more sophisticated than these. The system detects the weight and size of the driver and passenger to determine the force at which the bag inflates. It is available in all cars 2006 or later.
5. Fog Lights
Heavy fog can limit visibility to just a couple feet in front of the vehicle. Fog lights produce wider and flatter illumination, which reduces the amount of light reflected back at you.
6. Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive cruise control can automatically adjust the throttle and brakes slow down if you are quickly approaching the vehicle in front of you. Once you are at a safe distance, it will automatically speed back up.
7. Rear View Camera
Small cameras installed on the back of your vehicle transmit the image to your dashboard so you can physically see what is behind you before reversing.
8. Reverse Backup Sensors
Cheaper than rear view cameras, these sensors alert you if there is an object behind the vehicle as you back up. This has been known to save lives of small children that can’t be seen walking or playing behind the car. It can also assist with parallel parking if you are too close to another vehicle.
9. Side View Assist
Side view assist can alert you if you begin to change lanes when there is another car in your blind spot. However, you should make it a habit to look behind you and to the side before changing lanes rather than relying on mirrors.
10. Emergency Response
Some vehicles are equipped with the ability to automatically respond in the event of a collision. They can switch on interior lighting, shut off the fuel, turn on hazard lights and unlock doors when airbags are deployed.
When searching for a new vehicle, safety should be one of your top priorities. Try to find a car that has as many safety features within your budget. When it comes to car crashes there are no guarantees, but these additions could save you and your passengers’ lives in an emergency situation.