A New Class Of Auto Safety Features

Insurance Insight

Today’s new cars are packed with safety features that help protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. But which car safety features should you look for when buying a new automobile? Here are some of the safety feature must-haves you’ll want to consider for your next vehicle.

Safety Features As Standard Equipment

Some important safety features are now required on new vehicles. These include front airbags, electronic stability control, safety belts, and the latch child safety seat system. Side-curtain airbags, while not required by regulation, have become standard on many new cars in recent years. You can review additional safety features at Safercar.gov.

New Technologies To Consider

Once exclusive to luxury vehicles, crash avoidance technology is now available on many new models. These can include:

  • Forward collision warning: These systems use an audible warning to alert drivers when they are coming up too close to a vehicle in front of them. “Systems with autonomous braking also back up warnings with an automatic application to the brakes,” says David Zuby, chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and its Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). “Our research shows that both help reduce crashes.”
  • Backup Camera And Sensors: More and more vehicles have large screens in the center of the dashboard for media and other features. One of the features includes a backup camera. This coupled with sensors give you an extra view of what’s going on behind you and alerts if you’re getting too close to an object (or person).
  • Adaptive headlights: These headlights pivot toward the direction you’re traveling and are great for improving visibility around curves. When the HLDI studied adaptive headlights offered on Acura, Mazda, Mercedes, and Volvo models, it discovered that they lowered property damage liability claims by as much as 10%. For added safety, Zuby also recommends HID headlights, adaptive high-beam assist and night view technology.
  • Blind spot detection: Sensors serve as second eyes, alerting drivers of objects in their blind spots. This is especially useful when changing lanes. Though less research backs up the benefits of blind spot detection, Zuby recommends it. “Whether or not it’s effective, when we’ve talked to vehicle owners with cars equipped with blind spot detection, they universally agree it’s a good thing,”

Additional Auto Safeguards

It’s important to review the crash performance of various models provided by the IIHS vehicle safety ratings. It may surprise you to see how your favorite car ranks and should definitely influence your decision.

While it seems we are approaching fully autonomous driving, it still takes a focused driver behind the wheel to stay safe. Keep in mind that safety features aren’t a substitute for safe, defensive driving. If you need to brush up on your skills, consider taking a driver safety class.

If you’re in the market for a new car, keep these items at the top of your list. Safety features may not be the most glamorous things to consider when compared to bells and whistles like leather seats, smartphone integration, and big shiny wheels, but they are the only features that can save your life.