1-800-Charity Cars, a national non-profit providing vehicle donations to struggling families since 1996, would like to highlight 10 safety features your vehicle should have to aide you in ensuring your vehicle is as safe as possible:
Seat belts have been around for a long time, but over the years they have changed dramatically. Seat belts are now in front and rear seats of vehicles. They are no longer just waist belts; they are now waist and chest restraints. Seat belts now offer a locking system, so in the event of an accident the seat belt will lock and keep you in your seat. It is important, especially when buying an older vehicle, that you make sure the seat belts are waist/across chest, front/rear, and has the locking mechanism in place.
Airbags have been a topic of debate for some people who think they are dangerous, but they have in fact saved many lives. There are guidelines for airbags, such as children under a certain age/weight, and infants in a child restraint seat should not sit in the front seat of a vehicle. If you follow these guidelines, airbags are safe, can lessen injuries, and/or possibly save your life or the life of a passenger in the event of an accident. There are many different types of airbags available now, so be sure to discuss all the options available for the vehicle you wish to purchase.
ANTI-LOCK BRAKE SYSTEMS
Anti-lock brakes help assist your vehicle in slowing down a lot quicker rather than sliding or skidding across the road. The result is better control over the vehicle and aiding a driver in the avoidance of an accident. There are different types of ABS’ on different vehicles, with most having four-wheel anti-lock braking systems and others, such as SUV’s and some trucks, having two-wheel or rear wheel anti-lock braking.
As of November 2006, all vehicles have a tire pressure monitoring system, which will alert you when your tire pressure is low. Low tire pressure can compromise your ability to handle your vehicle efficiently and tires with low pressure can fail, blow out, or be the cause of an accident. Keep this in mind when buying older vehicles.
If you have younger children or grandchildren be sure to check your vehicle for the LATCH system. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children and since 2002 has been a standard in all vehicles. This system was put in place to help protect children in child restraint seats, since many people were incorrectly installing the seats.
There are reversed backup systems available that will alert you when you are backing up too closely to something. These are not very expensive and are available with or without a camera. As you back up, the closer you get to any object the louder and more frequent you will hear a beeping sound. If you have one with a camera, you will be able to see exactly what is behind you as you back up.
SIDE VIEW ASSISTANCE
You can get a system that will notify you if someone is in your blind spot. Sensors on the bumper will register anything in your blind spot and a light will flash in your side view mirror to alert you. Some of these side view assist systems will beep if you engage your blinker also.
ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL
While cruise control is a well-loved feature for those long drives on the highways, it has evolved into an ingenuous safety feature. With the use of radars and cameras, the forward facing sensors monitor the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. You do not have to do anything, since this feature will automatically slow down or accelerate to a safe distance and will stay the preset speed if traffic flow permits.
There are lane departure warning systems available now that will alert you when your car leaves your lane. These systems are camera or laser based and if you leave your lane without engaging your turn signal it will alert you. This feature is primarily in place to prevent accidents from leaving your lane due to distractions or drowsiness.
PASSENGER SENSING SYSTEM
This safety feature is great to have in place if you have small children who are out of child restraint seats, but still too small to be safely seated near an airbag. The sensor will turn the airbag on or off based on the weight of your passenger. This can prevent serious injury or death to anyone too small to be near an airbag, if it deploys.
Whichever vehicle you choose, 1-800-Charity Cars wants you to put this list to use and choose wisely. Taking the time to ensure the vehicle you select is as safe as possible can make all the difference if you’re involved in an automobile accident. Don’t forget that vehicle safety features are only part of the equation, click here for some helpful safe driving tips.