Car Safety: Important Features You Should Look Out For

It happens in an instant. You are driving on a slippery road when the clock is almost about to hit midnight. The road is faintly visible due to a torrential downpour. For an instant, you are distracted and you dash straight into an electric post.

Studies have shown that in Malaysia, thousands of people are involved in vehicle accidents every year. The Global Status Report on Road Safety published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank reported that Malaysia had 7,152 deaths in 2016, of which 87% were males and 13%, females.

These accidents have far-reaching effects on the physical and mental well being, which can sometimes last for a lifetime. And this is exactly why car safety features are such an important aspect to consider when purchasing a new vehicle. 

Cars are getting safer

When it comes to buying a car, people have their own specific choices, but they seldom realise that prioritizing safety over all other features is of vital importance.

As per Nino Tarantino, CEO of Octo Telematics” car safety features are not optional and should be taken as a top priority while buying a car”.

In recent years vehicle safety has changed drastically. In today’s world cars are safer than ever before.

Thanks to the in-depth research and analysis of crash data, thorough advanced engineering, newer vehicles are built better and are better equipped with more safety features to protect you.

A recently released data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a part of the agency’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System confirms the notion that newer vehicles tend to be inherently safer than older ones.

Car safety features that you need

Accident repair can be hefty on your pockets. It is therefore important to understand  the essential features that you need to look for while buying a new car.

1. Airbags

Allen Breed invented airbags in 1968. It was an electronic sensor which set off the bags in case of an accident. Ever since 1998, front airbags have been fixed on all new cars as a standard.

Crash sensors fitted on the car are wired to an onboard computer which constantly monitors for collisions. During accidents, a strong signal sent to the network can trigger the bags inflating them in the blink of an eye.

Studies have shown that airbags have saved thousands of lives.

Side airbags

Side airbags cover both front and rear side windows to prevent passengers from hitting their heads on the side, and to shield them from flying debris. 

These stay inflated for a long time to keep people from being ejected during a very high speed side crash.

Most airbags will deploy at a higher threshold (about 16 mph ) for belted occupants because the seat belts are good enough to provide adequate protection up to moderate speeds.

The driver airbag is located in the steering wheel, and the passenger airbag is placed within the dashboard.

For children below 12 years, it is advisable to place them in the rear seat.

2. Anti Lock brakes (ABS)

Before ABS was introduced during an unexpected breaking, it was easy for the wheels to get locked.

Tyre lock is common in slippery surfaces which makes it impossible to steer.

In the ABS, each wheel is attached by sensors and connected to the central stability control, which monitors the wheels during the time of heavy braking.

If the system detects that the wheel is about to get locked up, the brake will be released for a moment.

When you experience a pulsing sensation through the brake pedal while you are pressing it, this is an indication that ABS is in action.

Studies have shown that ABS has a significant role in reducing road accidents.

3. Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) System

Most popularly known as ESC or electronic stability control, this system helps to prevent skidding or sliding and keeps the vehicle on the desired path.

This system is primarily designed with a series of sensors which detects the axis of movement, steering angle and wheel speed.

If the vehicle drifts outside of the path intended by the driver, the vehicle assist system reduces the speed of one or more wheels and lowers the engine power to pull the car back on the desired track. 

ESC is a great boon for heavy vehicles like trucks and vans, which have a higher probability of rolling over.

4. Safety belt

This is undeniably one of the most essential car safety features. 

During the time of a frontal impact, the seat belts not only retract to take up the slack but also help to keep the passengers in the proper position to receive the full advantage of deploying the airbag.

Besides the apparent consequence of severe injury or death due to non-wearing of the seat belt, this could also have additional implications as insurance companies hold you partially responsible for your injuries and reduce your total settlement.

It is therefore highly recommended to wear the seat belts to minimize your risk of harm in an accident and to ensure that you are compensated for the full extent of your injuries.

5. Traction control

This system helps your wheels to gain maximum traction by limiting wheel spin during acceleration.

This system comes in handy when starting off on a wet or icy surface, and launching with a high-horsepower engine. Most traction-control systems make use of the car’s ABS to momentarily brake a spinning wheel, routing power to the opposite drive wheel. 

6. Mirrors

Properly designed mirrors help to ensure great visibility and avoid blind spots.

7. Bumpers

This is one of the oldest safety features fitted in your car. Bumpers are usually made of steel, aluminium, rubber or plastic. It absorbs shocks from car accidents.

Bumpers are fitted on your car to:

  • Reduce the injury to the occupants.
  • Reduce the severity of the crash.
  • Reduce the physical damage to the front and rear side of the vehicle.
  • Protect the hood, cooling system, fuel exhaust, trunk etc.

8. Shatter-resistant glass

Before the introduction of shatter-resistant glass, during the time of an accident, the windshield would break into numerous pieces, and the driver would be covered in shreds of glass, risking the life of the occupants and putting the driver in grave danger.

Shatterproof glass is designed in a way to remain stable without falling inside to prevent injuries to the riders.

Honda cars safety features

Honda has uniquely developed its technology to ensure the safety of its customers and everybody else on the road.

Some of the safety features of Honda cars available at Honda authorised centres include:

1. Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)

RDM uses a camera to identify lane markers such as:

  • cat eye markers
  • painted lane line

The main advantage of this system is that when the vehicle is about to leave the road or lane marked by solid lines, the driver is alerted by a visual and audible warning.

In some models, it will also tug at the driver’s seat belt.

If the driver fails to take an appropriate action, the system applies moderate torque to the steering wheel to gently guide the vehicle into the proper lane.

And if this is not enough, the system will apply braking to ensure that the vehicle remains on track guaranteeing the safety of the passengers.

2. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

ACC helps the driver to select the desired speed but also maintain a desired speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front.

This is a more evolved form of cruise control, enabling you to enjoy the benefit of driving in light traffic.

3. Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)

Honda developed this technology to reduce the impact of a frontal collision.

This CMBS is powered by a blend of forward-facing cameras and radar transmitter.

If the system detects a potential crash:

  • The driver will be warned with a visual and audio warning to take appropriate action 
  • A slight tug on the seat belt of the driver will be felt.

If the driver fails to take action, the system will begin to apply brakes slightly, in case of imminent danger sudden brakes will be used with an instant tightening of the seat belts.

4. Forward Collision Warning (FCW)

This system can:

  • Detect the vehicle directly in front and compare their speeds to determine any chances of a collision.
  • Alert the driver in case of a potentially dangerous situation with a visual and audio warning.

To avoid the unnecessary warning, this system will not be active below the speed of 3 mph.

5. Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)

Similar to the RDM, this is another system which works proactively to maintain the vehicle in a specified lane.

The moment you start to drift off from the detected lane, a gentle torque is applied to guide back the vehicle in the lane.

However, if the driver fails to take action, the system stops steering and displays a message instructing the driver to begin steering again.

Bottom Line

Car safety features have come a long way through trial and error. If you are planning to buy a new car, it is best advised to look at the safety features to ensure that the life of you and your loved ones is well protected.

As they say when you are out on the road, anything can happen. A well planned investment can be worth the spend in future. 

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