Today's new cars are packed with safety features that help protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. But which car safety features should you look for when buying a new auto?
Here are some of the safety feature must-haves you'll want to consider for your next vehicle:
Safety features: standard equipment
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. Review additional safety features at Safercar.gov.
New technologies to consider
Once exclusive to luxury vehicles, crash avoidance technology is now available on many new models. These can include:
- Forward collision warning
These systems use an audible warning to alert drivers when they are coming up too close to a vehicle in front of them. "Systems with autonomous braking also back up warnings with an automatic application to the brakes," says David Zuby, chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and its Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). "Our research shows that both help reduce crashes."
- Adaptive headlights
These headlights pivot toward the direction you're traveling and are great for improving visibility around curves. When the HLDI studied adaptive headlights offered on Acura, Mazda, Mercedes, and Volvo models, it discovered that they lowered property damage liability claims by as much as 10%. For added safety, Zuby also recommends HID headlights, adaptive high-beam assist and night view technology.
- Blind spot detection
Sensors serve as second eyes, alerting drivers of objects in their blind spots. Though less research backs up the benefits of blind spot detection, Zuby recommends it. "Whether or not it's effective, when we've talked to vehicle owners with cars equipped with blind spot detection, they universally agree it's a good thing," Zuby says.
Learn which vehicles are equipped with crash avoidance systems.
Additional auto safeguards
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.
Need more incentive? Taking a class may make you eligible for discounts on your auto insurance.