There are many safety features for cars. Some safety features are standard, while other safety features increase a vehicle’s cost. Whenever you search for a new vehicle, keep in mind the five most important safety features for cars.

Seat Belts

It is estimated that seat belt use saves thousands of lives each year. In 2019, 47 percent of the people who died in automobile accidents were not wearing seat belts. 

Seat belts were infrequently used or installed in vehicles until the 1960s. Then, in 1968, the federal government required that all new vehicles have seat belts as a standard feature for all seating positions. Today, mandatory seat belt laws require drivers and passengers to buckle up.

Texas requires that all occupants of a vehicle wear seat belts. In addition, children are required to be secured according to Texas child safety seat laws. A violation of Texas seat belt laws is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine. 

Airbags

Airbags reduce the risk of injury during a collision. Just over 50,400 lives were saved from 1987 to 2017 by frontal airbags. 

Frontal airbags have been standard in all passenger vehicles since 1998 and in SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks since 1999. Side airbags are not standard on many vehicle models. Curtain airbags are becoming more popular as a safety feature for added protection during a collision. 

During an accident, a signal is sent to the airbag inflator. The signal triggers a chemical reaction that causes the bag to inflate in less than 1/20th of a second. 

Even though airbags have been shown to prevent injuries and deaths during a car accident, some airbags are defective. Millions of Takata airbags have been recalled because of defects that could result in serious injuries or death during a car crash. 

Backup Cameras

Backup cameras are now standard on all new motor vehicles (as of May 1, 2018). About 25 percent of car accidents involve the vehicle going in reverse. Backup cameras are designed to allow drivers to see what is directly behind the vehicle when traveling in reverse.

Cameras on the rear of the vehicle display live images on a screen in the car’s dashboard. Drivers should still turn to look for objects or people before backing up. However, backup cameras “see” what the driver cannot see because of a blind spot. 

Anti-lock Brake System

The Anti-lock Brake System or ABS reduces the risk of an accident in several ways. The system keeps the brakes from locking up when a driver applies a great deal of pressure on the brake pedal, such as slamming on the brakes to avoid a rear-end accident. 

The ABS also ensures a shorter stopping distance, which reduces the risk of rear-end crashes. An ABS allows the driver to maintain control over steering even while braking, which can prevent an accident. 

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic Stability Control or ESC has been a standard safety feature on motor vehicles since 2012. The ESC system uses computerized sensors to avoid skidding and sliding. ESC also helps stabilize SUVs and trucks to prevent rollover accidents.

The ESC uses automatic computer-controlled braking. It applies the brakes to individual wheels as necessary to help stabilize the vehicle. For example, the ESC can help the driver avoid a spin-out when the vehicle begins to lose directional stability at the rear wheels. It also helps to avoid a plow out when directional control is lost at the front wheels.

Optional Safety Features for Cars

Driver assistance technologies are becoming more advanced. These systems assist drivers in maintaining safe distances and backing up. They also alert drivers when the vehicle is about to collide with another object or person.

Examples of safety features available on many models of new cars include:

  • Forward collision warning 
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Blindspot detection
  • Lane departure warning
  • Adaptive lighting
  • Rear automatic braking
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Highway pilot
  • Pedestrian automatic emergency braking

Millions of car crashes occur each year in the United States. Technology that prevents car accidents saves lives and reduces the risk of sustaining a permanent disability because of a car wreck.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

Call 911 to report the accident. An emergency operator will dispatch police officers and emergency medical services. As soon as possible, see a doctor to evaluate and document your injuries. 

Seeking legal advice from a car accident attorney is also helpful. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. However, the insurance company may try to deny your claim or undervalue your damages. A personal injury lawyer fights to get you the compensation you deserve.