Introduction: Are you in the market for a new car? Choosing the right one isn’t always easy, and with so many features to consider it can be hard to know which ones are really important. When it comes to safety, though, there’s no compromise – you need to make sure your car has all of the latest features that will keep you comfortable and secure on your journey.
According to the UK government’s annual report on road casualties, there were an estimated 128,209 casualties of all severities in 2021.
With these alarming statistics in mind, it is crucial to prioritise safety when purchasing a vehicle.
In this article, we’ll go through nine key safety aspects that you should look for when we buy any car, helping you decide which ride would be best suited for your needs.
Read on for more information!
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are designed to enhance vehicle safety by automating certain driving functions or providing additional information to the driver.
These systems can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring, making them a valuable addition to any vehicle.
Examples of ADAS features include:
- Adaptive cruise control: This feature adjusts a vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, reducing the risk of rear-end collisions.
- Lane departure warning: This system alerts the driver if the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane without indicating, helping to prevent accidents caused by unintentional lane changes.
- Automatic emergency braking: This system automatically applies the brakes if a potential collision is detected, either avoiding the accident altogether or reducing its severity.
- Blind-spot monitoring: This feature warns the driver of vehicles in their blind spots, assisting with safe lane changes.
- Rear cross-traffic alert: This system alerts the driver to approaching vehicles when reversing out of parking spaces, helping to prevent accidents in busy car parks.
Airbags are designed to protect occupants during collisions by cushioning the impact and minimising the risk of injury. For car buyers, it is essential to ensure that it is equipped with a comprehensive airbag system.
Types of airbags to look for include:
- Frontal airbags: These airbags deploy in the event of a frontal collision, protecting the driver and front passenger from injury.
- Side airbags: These airbags protect occupants during side-impact collisions, reducing the risk of injury to the chest and pelvis.
- Curtain airbags: These airbags deploy from the roof lining to protect occupants’ heads during side-impact collisions or rollovers.
- Knee airbags: These airbags deploy beneath the dashboard to protect the driver’s and front passenger’s knees during frontal collisions.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a safety feature that helps drivers maintain control of their vehicle during challenging driving conditions, such as when taking a sharp turn at high speed or driving on slippery surfaces.
ESC uses sensors to detect when a vehicle is about to lose control and automatically applies braking force to individual wheels, helping to stabilise the car.
In many countries, including the UK, ESC is now a mandatory feature for new vehicles.
ESC is often linked with traction control systems, which help to prevent wheel spin during acceleration by adjusting engine power and braking force as needed.
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is an essential safety mechanism that stops a vehicle’s wheels from seizing up when faced with urgent braking scenarios.
By preventing skidding, ABS allows drivers to maintain steering control, enabling them to manoeuvre around obstacles and avoid accidents.
When looking for a car, ensure that it is equipped with ABS, as this feature can make a significant difference in emergency situations.
Maintaining proper tyre pressure is essential for vehicle safety, as underinflated tyres can lead to reduced handling, increased tyre wear, and an increased risk of blowouts.
A Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) continuously monitors the pressure in each tyre and alerts the driver if any tyre becomes underinflated.
In addition to improving safety, a TPMS can also help improve fuel efficiency by ensuring that tyres are correctly inflated.
Isofix is an international standard for attaching child car seats to vehicles, providing a more secure and straightforward method of installation compared to traditional seatbelt-based systems.
Isofix mounting points are built into a vehicle’s structure, allowing compatible child seats to be quickly and securely attached.
When purchasing a car, particularly if you have young children or plan to in the future, ensure that it is equipped with Isofix mounting points to provide the best possible protection for your little ones.
Parking aids are designed to assist drivers in manoeuvring their vehicles in tight spaces, helping to prevent accidents and costly damage.
Types of parking aids to consider include:
- Rearview camera: This feature provides a live video feed of the area behind the vehicle, making it easier to reverse into parking spaces and avoid obstacles.
- Parking sensors: These sensors detect objects in close proximity to the vehicle and emit an audible warning as the distance between the vehicle and the object decreases.
- 360-degree camera system: This advanced system uses multiple cameras to provide a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle, making parking and manoeuvring in tight spaces even easier.
- Automated parking assist: This feature uses sensors and cameras to automatically steer the vehicle into a suitable parking space, with the driver only needing to control the accelerator and brake.
Good visibility is essential for safe driving, particularly at night or during adverse weather conditions.
Consider the following types of headlights to ensure optimum visibility:
- LED headlights: These headlights provide bright, energy-efficient illumination with a longer lifespan than traditional halogen bulbs.
- Adaptive headlights: These headlights automatically adjust their beam pattern based on factors such as vehicle speed and steering angle, ensuring optimal illumination of the road ahead.
- Automatic high beams: This feature automatically switches between high and low beams depending on the presence of other vehicles, ensuring that the road is well-lit without dazzling oncoming drivers.
Crash test ratings are an essential factor to consider when evaluating a vehicle’s safety. Organisations such as Euro NCAP and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conduct rigorous crash tests to assess how well a vehicle protects its occupants during various types of collisions.
Before purchasing a car, research its crash test ratings to ensure that it offers a high level of protection in the event of an accident.
Selecting the right car involves careful consideration of numerous factors, but safety should always be a top priority. By focusing on the 9 key safety aspects discussed in this article, you can make an informed decision and invest in a vehicle that offers the best possible protection for you and your passengers.
Remember, a safe car not only provides peace of mind but also contributes to reducing accidents and casualties on the road.
So, take the time to research and choose a car that meets your needs while ensuring the highest level of safety for all occupants.
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