Technology is a wonderful thing. The more we advance, the more connected and innovative we become. This shows up especially well in the technology and safety features of our vehicles. We've gone from basic airbags and brakes to automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control. But with all this new tech, what are the essential systems, the ones that we absolutely shouldn't drive our cars without?
DCH Wappingers Falls Toyota is here to fill you in. Read on for six must-have safety features in any vehicle.
1. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
The majority of cars now come with ABS as standard. The main benefit of these systems is that they provide improved driver control over the vehicle, which is especially important during inclement weather conditions. ABS prevents wheels from locking and eliminates the risk of skidding. This allows the driver to bring the vehicle to a halt in a safe manner or to steer around an obstacle without losing control of the vehicle. However, as the National Safety Council advises that if your car is fitted with ABS, it is important not to pump the brakes, as this may turn the system off. Equally, ABS should not be considered as an excuse to drive faster in bad weather conditions, as it does not reduce stopping distances.
2. Traction control
The main purpose of traction control is to equalize the rate of spin between the four wheels. If one wheel is detected as spinning faster than the others, the traction control system will apply the brake to this wheel to slow it down. In bad weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and ice, it reduces the risk of aquaplaning, thereby improving driver control of the vehicle and lessening the potential for accidents.
3. Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
ESC is an important computer system which controls and compensates for over or under steering, which is especially likely to occur and cause the vehicle to slide in bad weather conditions, thus potentially causing an accident. If such an event occurs, the ECS system, through sensors located on each of the four wheels, will briefly apply the brake to the appropriate wheel and, depending upon the format of the system, may also reduce engine power to assist you in maintaining control of your vehicle.
4. Automatic lighting, windscreen washer detectors
Bad weather conditions have adverse effects upon driver visibility. To compensate for this, a number of automobile manufacturers are now including light and rain/snow sensor systems within their models. Lighting sensors will automatically turn on headlights in necessary conditions, such as storm clouds or nightfall, or when driving during snow or rain reduces visibility for road users and pedestrians. Similarly, sensors will automatically set windshield wipers in motion if bad weather is likely to affect driver vision.
It is a legal requirement for all vehicles to fit driver and front seat passenger airbags as standard, as research has proven these reduce the likelihood of physical harm or even fatalities in the event of an accident (a risk which research has shown to increase during bad weather conditions). However, automobile manufacturers are also beginning to provide more head and side airbags designed to reduce physical damage caused by side impact.
6. Safety Belts
Perhaps the single most important safety feature, you should never drive a car that isn't outfitted properly with seatbelts. Many modern cars have updated their safety belt equipment with features such as pretensioners, force limiters, inflatable safety belts, and adjustable upper anchors. These additions can make a meaningful safety difference, so don't skimp on them when shopping for your car!
Vehicles fitted with the above safety features will have improved protection for drivers, passengers, and other road users. However, it should be remembered that these should be considered as additional protective features to safe driving, not a replacement for it.