When choosing a car, there are several important decisions to make. What colour should it be? Should it have an automatic or manual transmission? What kinds of accessories should it have?
But among all the variety of questions to ask during the car-buying process, none are more important than this: Is the car safe enough to drive?
To help you pick the safest vehicle for you or your family, we’ve compiled 8 of the most important safety elements that you should know about.
1. Known Defects or Widespread Issues
Although it isn’t common, cars can end up with serious defects during manufacturing. These defects may result in accidents on the road. Before you buy a car, research its history. Keep an eye out for consumer reported defects or other widespread issues. If you end up purchasing a defective vehicle and an accident occurs, you may be entitled to compensation.
2. Crash Test Ratings
Before a vehicle is released to consumers, it must undergo a crash test. Crash tests replicate auto accidents to determine how a vehicle will respond during impact. All vehicles receive a crash test rating based on how well their safety features work. You can usually find two types of ratings: insurance-industry ratings and government-issued ratings.
During an accident, the successful deployment of airbags saves lives. When choosing a vehicle, look into its airbag system. Newer cars may have a “smart” airbag system with advanced sensors. Some cars even have multiple airbags in place.
Like airbags, seatbelts save lives during severe auto accidents, especially when a passenger is thrown from the vehicle. Make sure your chosen vehicle offers 3-point lap and shoulder belts. Some cars offer more comfortable seat belts than others or have additional safety features such as force limiters.
5. Electronic Stability Control
Electronic stability control (ESC) is a computerized safety feature that helps drivers avoid sliding and skidding by detecting and adjusting for the loss of traction on the road. This feature is particularly useful for larger cars and cornering. Some manufacturers call their ESC systems by different names, so be sure to inquire about them before you buy them.
To maintain a certain level of safety in your vehicle, you must have a reliable brake system. Advances in technology have improved brake systems in newer cars. Most experts recommend getting an antilock brake system (ABS), which prevents the wheels of the car from locking during a particularly hard stop.
7. Rollover Resistance
During high-speed accidents, rollover is a serious concern, especially for larger vehicles with higher centres of gravity. While researching which vehicles to buy, look for an accompanying rollover rating. The rating will note a particular vehicle’s likelihood of rolling over, which is based on a variety of measurements.
8. Accident Avoidance
Certain vehicles are more likely to help you avoid accidents than others. This likelihood is based on a variety of factors including driving position, acceleration, seat comfort, braking, emergency handling, and more. Search for vehicles with high ratings on accident avoidance factors.
9. Child Protections
If you are purchasing a car for your family, you’ll likely focus on child protections in your search. Look for cars with appropriate attachments for child car seats. Also, many parents opt for power window switches that are safe for children.
These are a few of the safety elements to consider while searching for your next car. In addition to reading published ratings and manufacturer details, take a moment to speak to friends and family. If any of them have used a car that you’re interested in, ask them about its safety features.
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