Car Safety Features (Which Ones Do You Need)

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Today’s cars come with so many amenities and features that it’s hard to keep up with them all! However, in my book, none is more important than those associated with car safety.

I remember when airbags first hit the market. Now, they are commonplace and expected on every single vehicle no matter the size or price point. And, they are all over the place – driver side, passenger side, knee bags, side curtain bags, etc. Given that airbags are standard on most every vehicle, what other safety features should you be looking for when purchasing a new or used car?

Cars.com is a great website for researching vehicles prior to purchase, giving the consumer a look at safety features among other factors. Keep in mind also that many car insurance companies offer discounts based on safety features on your vehicle, so don’t forget to mention that. It’s always great to save a little money!

Anti-lock braking systems today are almost as common as airbags. This safety amenity is designed to help keep your brakes from locking up and skidding during episodes of hard braking. Traction control is just that – more traction for better control of the vehicle. Typically traction control works with the anti-lock braking system and is especially useful on slippery or wet surfaces.

Lexus ES 350 Car Safety Features
Lots of today’s safety amenities are centered around wheels. ABS, traction control and more. Photo courtesy of Lexus.

Electronic stability control is increased traction using computer sensors linked to things like wheel speed and other motions. When a sensor detects the car drifting off of its path, it brakes and pulls the vehicle back on track. Pretty neat, right?

LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) is a required system in place to make installing a child’s safety seat easier and thereby encouraging folks to use them. From personal experience, they are awesome!

Blind-Spot Warning is a fairly new technique that alerts the driver when there is a vehicle present in the blind-spot. Most vehicles use a beeping noise as an alert in addition to a blinking light on the outside mirror. While it is a feature that can typically be turned off because some drivers find it annoying, it is definitely a valuable tool for drivers to avoid collisions especially on busy thoroughfares.

Backup cameras are one of my valued amenities. A camera placed on the rear of the vehicle is activated and displayed on the inside monitor when the vehicle is in reverse. I have four children, all very close in age. When they were young and I would leave for the grocery store, they would run around the driveway waving “bye” and sometimes wanting to go with me. It was always nerve wracking making sure that none of them were behind the car as I backed up. And, sometimes toys were left back there that I couldn’t see and they got backed over. A backup camera prevents these issues. No more backing over bicycles and, better yet, countless precious little ones are spared.

Another safety feature that many folks don’t recognize as such is tire pressure monitoring. Yes, tire pressures can change and vary between seasons, but one tire pressure shouldn’t be significantly different from the others. That could indicate a leaking tire which in turn could lead to a dangerous blowout. And, it could be on the opposite side of your car from where you enter and you might not see it.

I know I didn’t cover them all, but hopefully I gave you the highlights. The ones you feel like you need may be different from my opinions. That’s okay. Just as long as you know what options are out there and available, you can make informed decisions.

And, don’t forget, it should be a given, always wear your safety belt (seat belt). It’s your first line of defense when in an accident. Don’t take it for granted. Buckle up and drive safely.

Car Safety Features

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