One of the most important considerations you should never ignore when buying a new or used vehicle is safety features. Security has become more important to everyone in recent years; Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time in our cars and with our families, so car safety must exceed all cosmetic preferences. Now there are very specific government and auto industry standards to keep you and your family safe, so let’s take a look at what to look for.
One of the best overall safety indicators of the car is the government crash test rating. All new vehicles will have these ratings readily available and it’s a great place to start understanding what your new car safety rating is. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA you find in www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ is your first stop. NHTSA uses two collision test methods in determining vehicle safety, total frontal collision, and lateral impact. THE NHTSA uses a five-star rating scale, the higher the number of stars the safer the vehicle, the smaller the number of stars, the more dangerous the vehicle. You’ll find an overview of these car safety ratings and qualities in www.safercars.gov.
The Insurance Institute for Road Safety is another great resource to help you learn about your car’s safety rating as well. IIHS is a research group that also conducts crash tests, but more for the insurance industry. The only important difference about their frontal collision tests is that they use a more realistic displacement test method. Instead of crashing head-on, which is extremely rare in head-on accidents, the crash test leads the vehicle to a deformed barrier designed to simulate another moving vehicle at 40 m.P.H. and the barrier covering only the part of the vehicle for the driver. Most head accidents are usually somewhat compensated, which usually results in worse damage due to torque and structural weakness. IISH car safety tests cover this and help us understand the reality of a real head-on collision. IISH scores or ratings in your tests are rated By Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Bad.
Now that you have a better idea of what is the safety rating of your car, you will also want to know what kind of air pocket system the vehicle has. All new vehicles are only legally required to have dual front airbags, but many manufacturers realize that the importance of safety also offers side and rear airbags, which is even more important in vehicles with multiple people such as vans and SUVs. Side curtain airbags that fall from the headliner offer better side head protection and are highly recommended. Some vehicles now even have weight sensors that disable the airbag when a person is under a certain weight there. This improvement occurred from the first airbags that injured shorter people in the front seat due to headshots and airbag release pressure. You’ll see these safety sensors increasingly improved from new vehicles.
Another key consideration is the rollover rate of the vehicle as well. Higher profile vehicles are more likely to fall. SUVs are up to three times more likely to run than passenger cars. Most of the SUV deaths are due to rollover. Most SUVs come with Traction 4 or All-Wheel Drive options, giving owners a false sense of security. The drivers of these vehicles think that because they have these options, they are invincible and push the envelope and expect the vehicle to perform any situation in which the drivers place them. Unfortunately, although they may have better traction in adverse weather and road conditions, these vehicles are more likely to tilt when sharp turns are attempted.
Anti-lock brakes have been around for some time and are a proven safety device, which is why insurance companies give you a discount if your vehicle has them; we strongly recommend that you buy a vehicle with ABS. While many who use ABS the first time hate the feeling of not stopping like they used to, abs prevents wheels from locking during a hard stop, something that can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The ABS almost always allows shorter stops, but most importantly, the system keeps the vehicle straight and allows the driver to handle during a panic stop.
Obviously, the safety of children is what most of us really care about the first time and for good reason. If you have babies always make sure you are looking for a new technology called LATCH which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. This universal system is designed to make it easier and safer to attach car seats due to the fact that many car seats are incompatible with the vehicle seat belts. You’ll also find more and more car manufacturers are adding built-in car seats to ensure even more safety for our kids so you can see this prominent in Mini Vans now.
One more thing I’d like to touch on the energy features in a car. You need to make sure that if the vehicle has electric windows and door locks, which is actually a standard feature on most models now, it also has to turn off locks that you check to prevent children from accidentally opening doors and windows and creating unwanted opportunities for injury.
As you see, there are many problems when discussing the safety of the new car and these are just some of the most important safety features to look for. There are many other consumer reports and car safety reviews that provide even more information and provide a good source for comprehensive information about car safety.