Your Car’s Safety Features
Consumers often ignore the safety features while buying a new car, focusing more on the cost, looks, interiors and performance. In India, most consumers may not even be aware what the various car safety features are and how important these are. Consumers have a universal right to be safe and they need to be sure that the vehicles they buy provide an adequate level of protection. So, what things make your car (and you) safe? In a well-designed car, multiple safety systems work together to keep the driver and passengers safe in different crash situations. Let's get acquainted with these systems.
Car safety features can be explained in terms of those that can help prevent accidents (primary safety features) and those that can reduce the chance of death or injury if an accident occurs (secondary safety features).
Primary Safety Features
1. Electronic stability control (ESC)
ESC is the most significant advance in vehicle safety since the introduction of the seatbelt, and one of the most important crash avoidance systems
available. Tests have shown it can prevent up to a third of all crashes.
This system helps a driver to avoid crashes by reducing the danger of losing control or skidding as a result of over-steering. Sensors in each wheel detect the start of a slide and small amounts of braking are automatically applied to individual wheels to regain stability and bring the car back under control.
This feature is commonly known as ESC, but different acronyms have been given by manufacturers to this feature, such as ESP, ASC or DSC. If the consumer is not sure, s/he should ask the car dealer whether a car has this vital feature.
2. Electronic brake-force distribution (EBD)
Electronic brake-force distribution automatically varies the amount of brake force applied to each of the vehicle‘s wheels to maximise stopping powers. EBD establishes the optimal brake-force balance which further helps to bring the vehicle to a halt swiftly, safely and in a straight line. Due to factors like road conditions, speed and different grips, not all wheels need equal breaking.
3. Brake assist
This system helps drivers to stop the vehicle more quickly during emergency braking. Tests show that when making emergency stops, many drivers don’t press the brake pedal fast enough or hard enough to make full use of a car’s braking power. The brake assist helps in recognising the signs of an emergency braking situation and automatically provides extra brake support to drivers.
4. Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and collision avoidance systems
These advanced systems use cameras and radar to detect when an object is ahead and an impact is likely. Several manufacturers have developed these systems and these can be grouped as: a) Autonomous: The system acts independently of the driver to avoid or mitigate the accident. b) Emergency: The system will intervene only in a critical situation. c) Braking: The system tries to avoid the accident by applying the brakes.