Today's new cars are packed with safety features that help protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians. But which vehicle safety features should you look for when buying a new auto?
Standard vehicle safety features
Some important safety features are now required on new vehicles. These include front airbags, electronic stability control, safety belts and the LATCH child safety seat system. Side-curtain airbags, while not required by regulation, have become standard on many new cars in recent years.
New car safety technology to consider
Once exclusive to luxury vehicles, crash avoidance technology is now available on many new models. Learn which vehicles include advanced safety features which can include:
Forward collision warning
These systems use forward-facing sensors to monitor distance and relative speed between vehicles. If the system senses an impending crash, it will alert you with sound, visual cues or physical sensations such as a vibration of the steering wheel.
These headlights pivot toward the direction you're traveling and are great for improving visibility around curves. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) studied curve-adapative headlights and found the reduction in the frequency of property damage liability claims to be 5.8%. And the the frequency of collision claims was reduced by 1.1%. Having “high density discharge” (HID) headlights, adaptive high-beam assist and night view technology adds safety.
Blind spot detection
When you're driving, vehicles behind or beside you are sometimes hidden in what's called a "blind spot." This can lead to a collision if you try to turn or change lanes. Blind spot monitoring systems visually alert you when a vehicle is traveling in your blind spot. Those alerts become brighter or louder if you signal to change lanes. Some systems even activate the brakes or steering controls to prevent a crash.
Lane departure warning
A lane departure warning system, which often uses a camera near the rearview mirror, keeps track of your vehicle's position in a lane. Any movement to leave the lane unintentionally, including merging without signaling, creates an alert-a sound, steering wheel or seat vibration and visual cues on the dashboard. Some systems also use light steering or braking to correct a lane departure.
These help drivers avoid collisions when parking or reversing, using sensors in backup cameras to alert you of objects behind your vehicle. Some backover protection systems may automatically brake to avoid collisions and prevent backover accidents.
Additional auto safeguards
When shopping for a new car, review the crash performance of various models provided by the IIHS vehicle safety ratings. Our vehicle insurance rating information can also help you determine how affordable different vehicles could be to insure. Additional information is also available in this vehicle safety ratings article.
Keep in mind that safety features aren't a substitute for safe, defensive driving. If you need to brush up on your skills, consider taking a driver safety class. Taking a class may make you eligible for discounts on your auto insurance.
Contact a local agent to see if you are eligible for other discounts.