If you’re planning to buy a new car or even a used car, checking its safety features should be the first thing on your list.
But what features should you be looking for?
Here’s a rundown of the nine most essential car safety features:
Front airbags have been standard since 1988. But as you step into 2023, you might also want to look for side-curtain and adaptive front airbags.
What’s special about them?
The adaptive bags detect the driver and front-seat passenger’s presence, position, and weight. If you’re too close to the wheel or have a child on board, the front airbags can reduce power or deactivate for added safety.
On the other hand, side curtain airbags deploy from above the windows and cover both the front and rear side windows. They prevent passengers from hitting their heads and protect them from flying debris.
2. Safety Belts
Check if the car you’re eying has added seatbelt features like:
- Seatbelt pretensioners: Instantly retract the belts to absorb some of the force during a frontal impact.
- Force limiters: Manage the force that builds up on the occupant’s chest.
Some cars also offer inflatable seat belts to further reduce the force of the straps, especially on children and the elderly. And if you’re getting a used car, pull the seat belt out all the way to the end to make sure there’s no damage or mold.
3. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with EBD
The ABS prevents your brakes from locking in the event of hard braking.
The Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) system distributes your vehicle’s brake force according to speed, traction, and road conditions.
ABS with EBD together ensures you don’t lose control of your car.
4. Automatic Emergency Braking System (AEBS)
The AEBS uses sensors or a camera to detect another car or a person in front of your vehicle. It prompts the driver to apply brakes, and if the brakes are still not engaged, it slows down the car automatically.
5. Traction Control
Traction Control uses sensors to prevent wheel slippage if it detects loss of traction on slippery roads, going uphill or while accelerating from a stopped position.
This helps you maintain maximum wheel grip on the road under different driving conditions.
6. Electronic Stability Control
Electronic Stability Control takes traction control a step further. It helps keep your car on its intended path, especially on curvy or slippery roads.
ESC is quite helpful in vehicles like sport-utilities and pickups, where it can prevent the vehicle from rolling over, avoiding a potential crash.
7. LATCH or ISOFIX
Ideally, if you have infants and kids up to 12, you need to install special seats in your car.
ISOFIX, also called LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), gives attachment points for child safety seats in car seats. It features built-in lower anchors and top-tether attachment points for LATCH-compatible child safety seats.
8. Parking Sensors and Cameras
Most modern cars come equipped with sensors in the front, rear, or both bumpers to alert you of any obstacles getting close at parking speeds.
Some cars also have a rear camera displayed in a center control screen or rear-view mirror. This system gets activated when you put the vehicle in reverse.
9. Adaptive Headlights and Fog Lights
Adaptive headlights switch from low to high beam and vice versa for improved nighttime visibility.
On the other hand, fog lamps fitted in the front bumper illuminate the surface and edges of the road for better visibility while driving in bad weather.
Better Safe than Sorry!
While there are far more safety features you can have in your car, we’ve tried to cover the essential ones.
That said, safe driving starts with you, so remember to take good care of your car and stay alert on the road.