BUYING A CAR > High Technology Safety Systems to Look For

High Technology Safety Systems to Look For

Brad's car pics 017Automotive Safety Systems

Todays’ cars are safer than cars built even three years before. I have found that there are approximately 10 major automobile safety features to keep you and your passengers safe in terms of avoiding and surviving accidents. New safety features are being added all the time. Here are my top 10 favorites:

1. Anti-Lock Brakes – This innovation has been with us for quite a while. This is a safety system that produces the maximum amount of braking power during a sudden stop – without causing the car to go into a skid. Skidding greatly increases your car’s stopping distance. With this product you can stop faster and with more control.

2. Adaptive Cruise Control – This is a “smart” system that slows down a car when the cruise control is activated. It can also increase the speed of the car to keep a constant distance between you and the car you are following. In this system, small radar sensors keep an eye on the car in front of you. It tells the car’s computer to maintain a safe following distance. It can control the vehicle’s throttle and brakes to accomplish this task.

3. Airbags – This car safety feature has been available since the 70’s. When a car hits or is hit by an object, airbags are deployed a millisecond after the impact. The airbags deploy rapidly to act as a cushion for the car’s occupants. Today we have front, side and curtain airbags. These bags are becoming “smart.” When they deploy, the force is commensurate with the intensity of the impact. This adds more protection and can also reduce any injury from the airbag’s explosive deployment.

4. Blind-Spot Monitoring – This system is a sensor that detects vehicles driving on the side of and behind a car. When a vehicle is in these positions, it activates the system. The warning signals can be both auditory and visual. The system is designed to aid the driver in avoiding a collision while changing lanes.

5. Backup Sensors – Backup sensors provide warnings when there is an object behind the car. Most of the systems sensors work by employing ultrasonic impulses. They detect the reflection of the waves that bounce off the object and their speed in returning to the vehicle. This tells the driver how close the car is to an object. Combine this with a backup camera and you have quite a system.

6. Collision Avoidance Systems – This is an array of sensors that warn the driver of objects ahead of the vehicle. They are designed to decrease the intensity of a collision. The sensors can work by laser, camera, or radar units in the front of the vehicle. They are designed to detect and warn of an upcoming collision. Some systems can even automatically apply the vehicle’s brakes.

7. Traction Control – Traction control is a system that works as a secondary application of the car’s anti-lock brakes. It is designed to prevent the vehicle from losing traction. Most commonly, the system works by applying braking force to one or more of the wheels. This helps keep the car from skidding on the road during maneuvering.

8. Stability Control – This is a system that helps the driver maintain control of a vehicle during a slide or skid. It monitors the driver’s steering input and the path of the car. It works by incorporating the car’s anti-lock brake system. It applies the braking power to one or more wheels to keep the car pointed in the direction the driver chooses.

9. Seat Belt Tensioners – A seat belt tensioner is a unit that automatically tightens the belt in the course of an accident. They reduce slack in the belt and hold the driver firmly in the seat and in line with the airbags for maximum protection.

10. Tire Pressure Monitoring – This is an electronic system that monitors the amount of air pressure inside tires. The system employs sensors located inside of the wheels. It serves as a warning that the vehicle’s tire pressure is low. Properly inflated tires directly influence the controlled handling of a moving vehicle – and inform you when you may be getting a flat tire.

A great safety package has recently been added to a couple of Subaru models. They are calling it EyeSight. This package combines pre-collision warnings, automatic braking, active throttle management, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. All of this is available at a surprisingly affordable price. I am sure other auto makers will be rushing to cram all of these features – and more – into future vehicles.

These are my top safety systems to have on a car. Many of these systems were initially available only on higher-priced cars. However, in recent years they are coming on board with less expensive ones. I believe these systems have greatly helped the survivability and avoidance of accidents. When you go car shopping, look to see which of these are available on the car you want. Be safe!

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