Your Car’s Safety Fea­tures

Consumer Voice - - Front Page -

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.

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