Even with how fast technology advances, we are still decades away from vehicles without a steering wheel that speeds across accident-free streets autonomously. Until then, we must stay vigilant, practice defensive driving, and invest in cars with the latest safety features to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Ehline Law and our car crash personal injury attorneys have a superior track record of handling thousands of personal injury cases and recovering in excess of $150 million in compensation. We have won many frontal impact cases involving unsafe drivers changing lanes as air bags inflate with newer cars. Blind spots or not, driving safer means accident avoidance as will be discussed. Contact us to learn more about your rights if you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident due to another’s negligence.
Auto manufacturers are spending billions of dollars in research to introduce new technologies, especially important safety features that can help save lives.
There are many different safety features in a vehicle that can help reduce the risk of an accident and save lives. But what are the 7 most important safety features in cars you should consider before buying a new one? Let’s find out.
Airbags are one of the most common car safety features introduced in the early 1970s. Since 1998, all new cars must have airbags on both driver and passenger sides. The crash sensors in the vehicle send signals to the computer in the event of a frontal collision, triggering the airbags, which inflate in a few milliseconds.
Airbags have saved many lives in motor vehicle accidents, but if used improperly, they can cause injuries to the driver or other occupants. Airbags provide cushioning during an accident if the person also wears a seatbelt. Without wearing a seatbelt, a front seat airbag can cause further injuries in the event of an accident, distracting the driver’s attention and making matters worse. Light trucks are at risk for flipping over as well, so no one is safe, including front seat passengers or the car ahead without alert drivers. So avoiding a potential collision means you must pay attention to other drivers and other objects.
However, systems in newer model vehicles analyze the person’s weight, position, and presence and inflate the airbag accordingly to avoid injuries.
Some manufacturers fit their vehicles with side curtain airbags and torso airbags which provide added protection, especially for the vulnerable occupants at the back of a car. Side curtain airbags prevent drivers and other passengers from hitting their heads against the vehicle’s window.
Before antilock brakes, hard braking would lock up the wheels, causing the vehicle to slip on the road and making it impossible for the driver to steer. Antilock brakes (ABS) are a safety feature that controls the braking pressure on each wheel with the help of sensors, preventing the wheels from locking up.
A car’s antilock brake system allows drivers to maneuver the vehicle while braking to avoid hitting other cars or objects and avoid rear end collisions. Inexperienced drivers are often alarmed by the pulsing sensation through the brake pedal after hitting hard brakes, but that is normal and a sign that the ABS technology is working fine.
When driving on slippery surfaces (during rain), accelerating or maintaining control of a vehicle can be challenging, increasing the risk of accidents. Traction control systems in new cars prevent loss of traction and wheel slippage, providing drivers with the safety they need during slippery conditions.
Traction control systems are a great feature on high-powered vehicles that accelerate fast. Immediate acceleration without traction control can cause the driver to lose control of their car and crash.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) takes the traction control system to a new level. With the help of a few sensors and the vehicle’s computer, the ESC prevents the car from slipping or skidding during a turn.
When the vehicle deters from its intended part, the ESC kicks in, activates braking on one or more wheels, and reduces engine power to bring the car back on its intended course. ESC systems are helpful for larger vehicles such as an SUV as they can prevent situations that can lead to a rollover.
ESC became common in vehicles after 2012, and some manufacturers use other names for stability control systems, such as Dynamic Stability Control (BMW), StabiliTrak (GMC), and Electronic Stability Program (Mercedes-Benz).
It is important to note that even with ESC, pushing the boundaries of normal usage can still lead to accidents. Don’t expect ESC to save you from an accident if you push the limits of your vehicle’s safety features by flooring the accelerator during turns or leaving your current lane.
Seatbelts not only prevent drivers and passengers from hitting the objects inside the vehicle but also the deploying airbags. It is one of the most important safety features mentioned on this list but is incomplete without the other enhanced safety features.
Seatbelt pretensioners retract the belt to tighten your shoulder belt, and the force limiters help loosen the belt a bit to remove excess force on the user’s chest during an impact.
Some vehicle models come with inflatable seatbelts for rear passengers, which is particularly useful for vulnerable groups such as the elderly or children. Inflatable seatbelts cushion the force of the belt during the impact and spread it over a wider area, safe distance or now.
All auto manufacturers must install LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) to help car owners secure the child seat correctly in the rear seat. The system reduces complications of child seats, helping encourage child restraint, and providing young ones the protection they need during accidents.
However, checking a vehicle’s LATCH system by using a child seat before purchasing a new car is essential, as some can be challenging to work with.
The abovementioned car’s safety features are almost a standard in all cars currently manufactured in the United States. However, some latest vehicles have advanced safety features, including the following.
Working in conjunction with the anti-lock braking system, brake assist detects when a driver executes a panic brake and starts applying full force on the vehicle brakes without locking up the wheels.
Studies show that in accidents, many drivers do not press hard on the brakes, which results in a collision. With brake assist, the computer automatically applies hard brakes, reducing the stopping distance and the risk of an accident.
Using sensors, the forward collision warning detects when a car is approaching another vehicle at high speed or when there is a higher chance of a collision. Following the detection of a dangerous situation, the forward collision warning sends visual and audio signals to the driver to alert them and take reactive measures to avoid a collision.
An automatic emergency braking works excellently with the forward collision warning. When the forward collision warning sends an alert to the driver, and they don’t react in time, the system immediately starts braking to avoid an accident or reduce the impact of a collision.
Using the vehicle’s camera, radar, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking, the pedestrian detection system protects pedestrians by alerting the driver or initiating emergency braking.
The adaptive cruise control uses a combination of radars and cameras to maintain a constant distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Some cars come with advanced adaptive cruise control that slows and accelerates according to the highway traffic speed. However, steering control remains the responsibility of the of the driver no matter how advanced the safety technologies or the steering system.
Most of the time, motorcycle accidents occur when the driver does not see the motorcyclist, especially when the motorcyclist remains hidden in the car’s blind spot. In such situations, advanced systems like Blind Spot Warning illuminate a light or an icon on the side-view mirrors to indicate a vehicle in the car’s blind spot.
In some vehicles, the Blind Spot Warning sends an auditory alert when the driver activates a turn signal. In others, the system brakes and steers the car back on its original path to avoid collision with another vehicle in its blind spot.
When backing out of a parking space, traffic moving in the back is a serious hazard, especially if the driver has a limited view. The Rear Cross-Traffic Alert automatically brakes when there is incoming traffic as the driver reverses.
When a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, their vehicle may start to cruise out of their lane and eventually hit an object or another car. The Lane Departure Warning is a great safety feature that can save lives. It alerts the driver by vibrating the steering wheel or the seat or sending other signals when a driver moves out of the lane without turn signals activated.
Lane Keeping Assist is an advanced safety feature that brings the vehicle back into its lane after it moves out of one without turn signals activated on a particular steering angle.
Whiplash injuries are one of the most common types of injuries in a vehicle collision. Active head restraints provide sufficient cushioning to the head in a rear collision, reducing the risk of a whiplash injury.
Rear-view cameras are a great way to detect incoming traffic when backing up. Although they are an excellent safety feature when parking your vehicle, they can also help detect children or pedestrians in the vehicle’s rear blind spot.
Even minor accidents can result in injuries, and these types of accidents are more common during parking. With parking assist systems, drivers can avoid a collision with objects or other hazards as the system will alert the driver when they drive too close to one in the vehicle’s path.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 50% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents occur at night when the visibility is low.
Automatic high beams automatically adjust the car lights to high beams, allowing for improved nighttime visibility.
One of the safety systems that became a requirement in all vehicles in 2006 is the Tire Pressure Monitor. Underinflated tires affect fuel economy and can cause tire blowouts resulting in severe accidents. The Tire Pressure Monitor system illuminates a light on the car’s dash to inform drivers of low-pressure tires and take corrective measures to prevent the sideways motion from sliding.
Ehline Law and our experienced personal injury attorneys helped draft consumer safety laws as part of our mission to protect American citizens. We understand how an accident can turn the injured victim’s life around, which is why we tirelessly work with our clients to handle their concerns and aggressively pursue the compensation they deserve.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident due to another’s negligence, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be able to pursue compensation with help from a highly rated injury law firm.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.