According to a survey of 2,000 American commuters revealed that the average person spends 19 8-hour workdays a year just driving in their car, which translates into a full 7 complete days per year, or 1/5 of an entire year over a decade just commuting. Routine errand and pleasure driving weren’t even included.
So you'd think that with practically a year of your life spent in a car, that safety would be a primary factor in how people choose a car, Yet according to JD Powers, while safety comes in third place as to why people buy a car officially, only about 37 per cent seriously take safety into consideration.
Fortunately, that one-third minority, along with heavy pressure from the National Highway Safety Administration, which among other things, calculates Auto Safety Ratings for vehicles using front, side, and rollover crash data does, which means that automakers spend billions on new technology to make cars and trucks safer to drive.
Whereas the gold standard in the past was front airbags, electronic stability control, safety belts, and the LATCH child safety seat system, all required by law, technology has rapidly improved with many safety features still optional on most vehicles but available, here are some items to consider:
#1. Forward Collision Warning
A forward-collision warning (FCW) system is a safety technology that monitors a vehicle's speed, the speed of the vehicle in front of it, and the distance between the vehicles.
If the trailing vehicle gets to close and a collision can possibly occur, a warning tone signals the driver to slow down. Insurance companies offering comprehensive car insurance sometimes give discounts for having such advanced safety features.
#2. Automatic Emergency Braking
Automatic Emergency Braking is a technology where the car partially or fully applies the brakes in order to avoid a collision or to reduce the impact of a collision. Cars with both Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking reduced rear-end collisions, the most common type of accident, by 50 per cent.
#3. Rear Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
Increasingly more common in vehicles, and often very important to families with young children, this system detects children, or vehicles immediately behind your vehicle and automatically applies the brakes to avoid a dangerous collision.
#4. Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assistance Technology
Lane Departure Warning Systems uses a camera in order for the vehicle to detect when you are about to veer out of your lane and gives you a warning tone to alert you.
However, Lane Keeping Assistance goes one step further by actually helping to steer the car back into the lane. Some Lane Keeping Systems are more advanced than others, so it's important for drivers to know how they work and their limitations, but it is an important safety feature.
#5. Side Air Bags
22 per cent of all major deaths or substantial injuries occur from side collisions, so you would think the government would mandate side airbags as well as frontal airbags.
There are actually two types of side airbags:
Torso airbags, which, as the name suggests, primarily protect the torso areas or Curtain Airbags. Here, the airbags drop from the ceiling and provide a protective curtain around the body. Important questions to ask when buying a car are the side airbags only designed to protect the torso, or do they also protect the head as well.
Some automakers are bragging that their vehicles have 10 airbags in total, but that doesn't mean 10 is better than 8 if the latter has airbags that protect the torso and head simultaneously.
#6. Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive Cruise Control, which has 20 distinct names by automotive manufacturers, is a technology system that the cruise control can automatically adjust the vehicle's speed in order to prevent a rear-end collision.
Adaptive Cruise Control is seen by many as a key to future smart vehicles that will essentially drive themselves, so advancements continue at a rapid pace in the automotive field. At present, Adaptive Cruise Control is merely an assist, but eventually, there will be no cars manufactured without it.
Blind Spot Warning Systems
Blind-spot warning systems, originally introduced by Volvo, a company that is as synonymous with safety as Ferrari is synonymous with fast cars have spread throughout the industry in the last few years. Some use a camera and a computer system to provide warning that a vehicle is in the blind spot of your vehicle, left or right, while others send out radar waves to accomplish the detection.
Either way, it's a great stride in safety, and one you might consider.