Top Safety Features to Look for When Purchasing a Car

Most car crashes take victims by surprise and in many cases, are unavoidable. However, there are precautionary steps that car owners can take when purchasing their vehicles to help them prepare for accidents that may occur in the future. While having a car with the newest safety features can help protect occupants from severe injuries, they may not be able to totally insulate passengers and drivers from injury. Treating even minor injuries can be expensive, so if you live in South Carolina and were recently injured in a car crash caused by another person’s negligence, it is critical to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses.

Airbags

Installing front airbags has become a standard practice in the car manufacturing industry. In fact, many airbag systems are able to detect the presence, seat position, and weight of the driver and front passenger. Based on that information, the system can deactivate front airbags to minimize the chance of injury to children or drivers who are sitting too close to the steering wheel. Side airbags that protect the torso of the driver and front seat passenger when triggered have also become universal in all newly manufactured cars. New car models may also come with side curtain airbags that deploy from above the windows and so cover both the front and rear side windows and prevent occupants from hitting their heads or being injured by flying debris. These types of airbags have also been shown to keep people from being ejected during rollovers.

While most vehicles come equipped with airbags, it is still a good idea to determine which type of airbags a vehicle has. For instance, a potential owner who has children may want to invest in a vehicle that has an airbag system that will deactivate if a child is in the front seat. Alternatively, the buyer may want to ensure that the back seat passengers will also be protected by side airbags. Finally, just because a car is relatively new, do not assume that it is equipped with airbags, as many trucks were not required to have them until 1999.

Antilock Brakes

In the past, hard braking while traveling at high speeds could cause a car’s wheels to lock up, making it impossible to steer, especially on wet or icy surfaces that offer little to no traction. Fortunately, antilock brakes can go a long way towards preventing tires from locking up by automatically applying the brakes at a rapid rate when the system’s sensors indicate that tires are in danger of locking. This in turn allows drivers to retain control while braking.

Electronic Stability Control

After 2012, manufacturers began installing traction control systems in their vehicles to help limit wheel spin during acceleration and so keep a car on the driver’s intended path during a turn. Essentially, a series of sensors that detect wheel speed, steering angle, and sideways motion link to a computer, so that if a car drifts outside of a path, one or more wheels will automatically brake. Some systems can even reduce a car’s speed. These types of systems have proven to be especially important in top-heavy vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, which are prone to rolling over.

Seat Belts

Seat belts save thousands of lives every year and while all vehicles are equipped with standard belts, others come with enhanced features that can improve their effectiveness. For instance, seat belt pretensioners allow safety belts to retract when sensors detect an abrupt deceleration. Force limiters then loosen the belt back a bit to reduce the force applied to an occupant’s chest. These features can also help ensure that occupants are positioned in their seats appropriately to maximize the effectiveness of a deploying airbag.

Many new car models offer inflatable seat belts for rear passengers. These types of seat belts spread the force of an impact on a passenger’s chest over a wider area, which is especially important for more vulnerable passengers, such as children.

Blind-Spot Warnings

These systems use a series of radar and cameras to detect the presence of vehicles in a driver’s blind spot. Most systems just have a light on the outside mirror that turns on when it locates a car in a blind spot, although some systems also use an audible warning if a driver tries to move to the next lane or activates the turn signal. Many new cars are also equipped with backup cameras that go into effect when a car is placed in reverse. The view is usually displayed in a center console screen and can help drivers spot pedestrians or other cars before reversing. Parking assist sensors embedded in a car’s bumpers also make an audible noise when approaching an obstacle.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

If you live in or near the Clinton, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, or North Charleston areas and were recently injured in a car crash, please contact us at the Joye Law Firm at (877) 936-9707 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated attorney who can explain your legal options.