Today, safety is a top concern among drivers everywhere, but many people aren’t sure exactly how to tell if their car is safe. If you are concerned about safety and your planning on car shopping soon, then there are a few things that you can look at when shopping cars to determine which of the vehicles that you are looking at can provide the safest ride, and protect you in the case of an accident. There are several factors, and they are not necessarily in any order. You can determine which of the following are most important to you.
Top-of-the-class crash test scores are usually a good indicator of how safe a car is, and how well protected you and those riding in your car are if and when an accident occurs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates cars by stars, one out of five, on how safe the vehicle is, conducting crash test that include side impact crashes, full frontal crashes and even crashes that involve a roll over. If a vehicle has five stars that means that you have about a ninety percent chance of walking away from car accident with minimal or no injuries.
What about the seat belt system? Does it secure you properly and will it protect you in the case of a crash? If your seat belt does not work properly and there is slack when you are involved in a collision you can pitch forward into an airbag that is exploding and may suffer injuries that way. However, good safety restrains will hold you in your seat and can be adjusted for comfort and fit. Another factor when it comes to seat belts is how they lock in a collision. Newer systems are equipped with pre-tensioners, which remove the slack and keep you securely in your seat in the event of an accident.
You’ll also want to be aware of features that protect the side of your head, such as on side airbags. This is vital because testing has shown that side airbags with head protection reduce driver’s side crashes in sedans by an incredible 45 percent. Some airbags that protect only the torso area may not be enough in a crash. Also, if you are going to choose an SUV, then make sure that head protection is included with your side airbags because SUV’s have a tendency to roll over during crashes and that little bit of extra protection can mean the difference between a few cuts and bruises and a major injury.
Another feature that is slowly being implemented is Electronic Stability Control or ESC. Electronic Stability Control is a system that automatically helps drivers control their vehicles during difficult steering such as implementing automatic braking on each wheel to keep the vehicle headed in the right direction and not skid or slide to the side. ESC may be called something completely different depending upon the manufacturer. Remember these safety features as you shop for cars and make sure they are installed in the vehicle you purchase.