What safety features you have on have on your car is often a compromise between your budget, the 'luxury features' and the suitability of the vehicle for it's purpose. This of course will depend on you, and what you think is most important, but there's no doubt it can be a tough decision.
Fortunately as manufacturing technology becomes more efficient and competition in the market more fierce, those of us interested in the budget to mid range market vehicles have started to reap the benefits. Less than 20 years ago having front airbags in a 'budget' vehicle was a luxury optional extra. Today they are considered to be as essential as a seatbelt in almost any new vehicle.
Thanks also to increased public awareness of the risks to car drivers, manufacturers have also started to listen to their customers and consider good safety features to be a necessity rather than just an option.
How safe is that car in a crash?
Thanks mainly to the internet, it is now easier than ever to do your own research when it comes to checking how safe that car from the slick TV commercial really is.
In terms of overall safety, probably your first point of call should be the web site of the European NCAP safety testing site at Euroncap.com. This is a non-commercial site that offers test results for most current and new production vehicles based on numerous standard safety test criteria.
It's impartial test data can show you how much protection is provided for adults, children and also pedestrians when involved in various standard accident scenarios.
It also allows you to compare the crash test results of various vehicles to see which one performs the best. A simple 5 star rating system gives you a quick overall view of the vehicles performance in all the tests.
Once you have armed yourself with this information, you will then be ready to consider the other safety features that may be on offer, both as standard and as optional extras.
Common car safety features
Here are of some of the more common safety features described in the sales literature of a new car:-
Airbags. These may just be in the front for a budget model, but can also be both at the front and sides for both the front and rear occupants of a vehicle. They provide protection from both front, rear and side impact collisions
ABS - Anti-Lock Breaking System. This feature prevents your breaks from locking should you apply hard pressure to them in an emergency. The system rapidly applies intermittent pressure to the brakes, thus preventing them from locking
ESC - Electronic Stability Control (sometimes also called traction control). A feature that senses impending slides, skids and other issues and applies the brakes to keep the car under control
Different manufacturers may have slightly different names for some of the above features, but they will basically do the same thing. Additionally their vehicles may have systems that are unique to that manufacturer, which may or may not give one make an advantage over another, but may also come at an additional cost.
Car Safety and Other Road Users
It is important to consider the safety of other less well protected road users such as cyclists, motorcycle riders and pedestrians. Pedestrian safety in particular is one of the standard tests carried out by European NCAP on most new cars. You can visit their website and easily find out how a particular model performs.
When buying a new car the dealer should be able to advise you on all the safety features it has to offer.
If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, Car Call UK and our partners can help you get a replacement vehicle, car repairs, legal assistance and injury compensation. Please give us a call on 02392 484 244 or start your free claim enquiry online using the button below, and one of our experienced claims advisors will be happy to assist you.