Can You Rely on Car Safety Features to Avoid a Crash?

Leonardo Castro
November 4, 2020

What are safety features? You probably have some if you have a new car. Many vehicles today are equipped with safety features that are used to help protect the driver, passengers and even other vehicles from collisions. These safety features reduce car crashes with technology that helps protect and monitor potential driving hazards.

What Are the Different Types of Safety Features?

Airbags are perhaps the most common safety feature that is placed in every vehicle. Airbags have been in cars since the year 1998 although some vehicles had them before then. AIrbags in cars are activated when the crash sensors detect any frontal collision which later then triggers the air bags that are located within the car. Many of these airbags have saved many lives but have also caused injuries and even death to children under the age of 12 and passengers who aren’t wearing a seat belt.

Traction Control is a safety feature that allows there to be a limit on how much the wheel is able to spin during acceleration

The Seatbelt was made a national requirement by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Act and Highway Safety Act. It was designed to secure the driver and the passengers from movement upon impact in a collision.

The Forward Collision Warning uses cameras or sensors to scan for cars ahead which then alerts the driver if they are a car ahead too fast or if they are close to having a collision.

Automatic Emergency Braking uses the same sensing as the forward collision warning system but will have an automatic brake when it senses a possible collision.

Pedestrian Detection safety feature includes forward collision warning which automatically brakes when it senses pedestrians nearby.

Adaptive Cruise Control uses cameras, radar and lasers to keep a constant distance between you and the car ahead. When there is a stop to traffic then this feature will slow down and pick up speed when traffic resumes.

The Blind Spot Warning uses radars to detect your blinds spots and warns that there is a vehicle lurking there. If there is a vehicle there then the car will warn you before you make a turn.

The Lane Departure Warning alerts the driver if they are out of their lane without the turn signals.

Backup cameras are installed in the rear view to assist the driver when s/he is driving in reverse. The backup camera displays the rearview to assist the driver in avoiding a collision with a pedestrian, another car or anything that may be in the way.

How Effective Are They?

Many new car models come with the features listed above.These safety features have been able to reduce deaths by one-thirds from 2008 to 2011. According to the International Institute for Higher Safety (IIHS) Status Report, structural designs and safety features were a main source of declining risk from 1993 through 2006.

In 2015, the IIHS also found out that drivers with collision safety features had 11% less single-vehicle, head-on and sideswipe accidents. Not only was there a reduction of these accidents but there was also a 21% reduction of injury crashes. In another study done by the IIHS, if every vehicle had these features in place, there would be more than 55,000 injuries prevented.

A study done by Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) examined cars from the year 2013 to 2017 to see how effective safety features are. The data showed that cruise control reduces collisions by around 6% while reducing bodily injury claims by an impressive 37%. Meanwhile the only feature that showed no significant reduction in accidents was the lane centering and front cross traffic alert.

As seen above these features have definitely been helpful in reducing car accidents over the years but this has also had some negative effects such as drivers becoming dependent on these features and driving more recklessly. Sometimes drivers overestimate the limitations of the car’s technology and assume that the car will protect them in all circumstances. For this reason it is very important to read your vehicle’s manual to fully understand the features that the vehicle has and how to utilize them correctly.

How Much Do Safety Features on Cars Cost?

Safety features are usually an extra cost to the vehicle because of the technology in the car and increased security. There is an average of $1,500 extra cost for every two of the latest safety features.

Should I Consider Getting a Car with Safety Features?

Although safety features help reduce accidents, they do not prevent all accidents. When these vehicles are involved in a collision, the parts are expensive to replace. For example, many vehicles are moving towards adaptive headlights that are LED. These headlights have been able to help drivers see better and avoid hitting other vehicles and pedestrians. However, they usually cost around $1000 to replace. Compare that with the cost of around $200 for regular headlights.

Cars with safety features are also more expensive to repair, so car insurance premiums go up. However, you may be eligible for a car insurance discount because cars with safety features are safer. The discount usually offsets the hike in premiums.

It’s always important to compare auto insurance prices on any car. You will get the best deal if you let SmartFinancial do the comparing for you. Just enter your zipcode below.

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