Buying a car is a lot more difficult now than it was several years ago. There are plenty of reasons for this, but it can usually all be chalked up to how much awareness the typical consumer has now when buying a vehicle. We always hear stories of how global warming is affecting the planet and how cars play a major role in that. In fact, even countries like China are planning to ban production of petrol and diesel cars in the near future due to environmental concerns. This is all in an attempt to ease pollution, and it goes without saying that it’s a major step in the right direction when it comes to preserving the earth for future generations.
A decade or two ago, this wasn’t even on the minds of consumers. People wanted cheap and efficient cars that they could use to drive to and from work without any hassle and they’d only care about purchasing the cheapest option. Nowadays, we have to concern ourselves with emissions, the size of the vehicle, the types of doors we have, the electronics and also the safety mechanisms. To help ease the frustrations a bit, here’s a complete guide on the latest safety concerns you have to worry about when purchasing a vehicle.
It sounds obvious, but seat belts are one of the primary concerns that you should keep in mind when buying a vehicle. There are many different types of seat belts, but they all serve the same purpose; to reduce the impact of a collision and to save the lives of people who are involved in a collision. Seat belts should easily be adjustable and there should be a way for the driver to see who is and isn’t using a seat belt. This is especially important when you have children in the back who are prone to moving around and removing their seatbelts for their own comfort. If your children are having trouble with seat belts or they find it uncomfortable, then you may want to consider getting a booster seat to make it fit a little better, or accessories to lessen the strain that the seat belt is putting on their body.
Air bags are made to inflate depending on the speed and impact of a collision. Cars have several air bags installed in them, and there are some vehicles that even have air bags in the side doors to help protect children in the case of a side collision. Air bags provide many life-saving benefits that can reduce the chance of adverse effects following a crash. They don’t eliminate the need for seat belts, however, and the two work in harmony to create more protection for both the passengers and the driver. When looking for a vehicle, ensure that there are enough air bags and if you do plan to have children in the back, make sure side airbags are fitted or able to be fitted to give you more peace of mind.
Antilock brakes prevent the wheels from locking up during heavy braking. Before antilock brakes were included as a standard, the wheels would occasionally seize up during hard braking and cause the vehicle to slide and become impossible to steer. The antilock brake system works on every wheel in most passenger cars, while larger vehicles such as SUVs, trucks and pickups have a choice of either two or four wheel ABS. When you’re buying a pre-owned vehicle, make sure that it includes ABS as a standard.
Traction control systems improve the stability of a vehicle by controlling the amount a wheel can spin during acceleration. This ensures that the wheels have maximum traction at all times which is essential for taking tight corners during wet or frosty conditions, or if you have a high horsepower engine with sharp acceleration. Traction control systems vary depending on the type of vehicle you have, and they can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle too. It goes without saying that having a reputable traction control system is vital especially if you plan to drive in adverse conditions during the winter, but keep in mind that you will also need to change our your tires for maximum benefit.
Electronic Stability Control
ECS, or Electronic Stability Control, is an evolution of traction control which helps to keep a vehicle on its path when taking a sharp corner. This is to avoid any kind of skidding or sliding, and it’s done by utilising computer systems and sensors that detect the speed of the wheel, the angle of approach, any sideways motion the car is experiencing and also the rotation of the vehicle. If the car starts to drift too far, then the electronic stability control system automatically kicks into gear and stops the wheels. This reduces the overall power of the vehicle but ends up putting the car back on its original course to prevent further deviation. It’s a complicated system to explain and it works slightly differently depending on the car you drive and also the model. However, it’s one of the essential safety systems to keep heavy vehicles such as an SUV on the road and to prevent it from tipping or rolling. Electronic stability control is now a standard, but if you plan to buy a used car then it’s a good thing to ensure it has electronic stability control especially if you plan on buying an old vehicle like a pickup. It’s proved itself over the years to save many lives and is essential to any vehicle.
Accident Avoidance Systems
Some of the newer safety systems to look out for are accident avoidance systems. These are newer features that are a little more popular in modern vehicles, so these will likely be harder to find if you aren’t buying a new vehicle or a pre-owned vehicle from a recent year. These aren’t as essential as ECS or ABS, but they do offer you some peace of mind especially if you’re a new driver.
- Collision Warning – Collision warning systems use a combination of lasers and cameras to scan vehicles around you so that it can warn you of any potential collisions. These systems alert the driver with an audible noise or visual indicator before the collision happens, giving you ample time to prevent an accident.
- Automatic Emergency Braking – Automatic braking systems are usually added to collision warning to help assist the driver in avoiding potential collisions. If the driver doesn’t act in time, then the automatic emergency braking kicks in to save the day (and also your life!).
- Backup Camera – A rear-view camera is useful for checking any kind of blind spots that you may have, and it’s also useful because it helps you park a little better. These sensors and cameras can also be shown on a monitor on your dashboard if you have an upgraded model, and they’re essential for reducing the likelihood of needing accident lawyers for rear end collision. If you want to avoid collisions from your blind spots, then it’s essential to have extra cameras.
- Parking Assist Systems – Parking is one of the hardest things to learn when you’re new to driving, which is why parking assist systems can help ease you into it. There are multiple sensors dotted around your vehicle that warn you of both collisions and people to ensure your parking is safe, smart and clean.
- Lane Departure – Staying on-course is difficult if you’re new to driving, which is why lane departure systems are starting to show up on most cars with updated technology. This technology essentially warns you when you’re drifting too far from your lane. It’s usually accompanied with an annoying sound or a visual indication. Most lane departure systems also include keeping assists, which will automatically help you steer yourself back into your lane to prevent the possibility of an accident.
These accident avoidance systems are incredibly powerful and useful, but you should always keep in mind that the best tool is always going to be your own instincts when driving. Should you fail to focus on the road or look the wrong way moments before an accident, no avoidance system is going to help you. Keep your eyes on the road and use these to help you get used to driving, but always try to build up your road sense so that you can use your skills to avoid an accident, not just electronics.
These are just some of the most useful safety features that cars have nowadays. Although most of the systems are included as standard, it’s important to remember that many old vehicles do not have some of these essential features and they’ll either need to be installed as separate upgrades or you’ll have to purchase a newer model of a vehicle. Car safety is incredibly important, so don’t neglect the importance of including these features in your next car purchase—it could end up saving your life.