Wise car buyers, the kind who search for car dealers on DexKnows, put safety at the top of their new car priorities. Modern cars are equipped with a host of devices for protecting occupants: safety belts, air bags, high-strength steel, soft interior surfaces, antilock brakes and even tire pressure monitors to ensure correct inflation, but here are some others you might want to consider.
1. Rearview, or backup, camera
In a report published in 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) estimated that nearly 300 people are killed each year in backup accidents. Fortunately, growing numbers of new cars come with a rearview camera that lets drivers see if there’s someone behind them when they put the car in reverse.
2. Active head restraints
Head restraints are essential for reducing the whiplash-type neck injuries that can occur in even low-speed rear-end shunts. (To learn more about how these injuries happen, take a look at “Q&A: Neck Injury” on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website.) Designs have improved in recent years but still rely on the restraint being set at the right height. Active head restraints provide better protection by moving to catch the head when an accident occurs, thus minimizing movement and injury.
3. “Smart” safety belts
There are two safety belt innovations to look for. Pretensioners quickly take up any slack when an accident happens, gripping occupants tight so that they can’t move around and preventing what’s called “submarining,” when the body slips under a loose belt. Second are inflatable safety belts. Somewhat like airbags, these inflate in an accident and spread the load of the belt over a wider area of the chest. Of course, these are only useful if you have the good sense to wear your safety belt!
4. Lane departure warning (LDW) system
This uses one or more cameras to monitor the car’s position on the road. If the car is drifting out of its lane, it will alert the driver by means of a chime or by vibrating the steering wheel or even the seat. Some high-end cars offer “active” LDW, meaning that if the driver doesn’t correct the car’s position, it will do it automatically.
5. Tired-driver detection
In a paper presented at the Society of Automotive Engineers conference in Detroit in 2012, it was estimated that 17 percent of all fatal accidents could be attributed to tired drivers. That’s why companies have been developing technologies that can detect a sleepy driver. Mercedes calls this “Attention Assist” and has made it standard in many of its cars.
Most car buyers put safety at the top of their list of priorities and carmakers keep introducing more innovations to help. If you want to learn more about the latest vehicle-safety technologies, why not head out to your local new car dealers? You can find them on the DexKnows site.