DEFINITELY need every safety feature you can get.”
Senior Safety Suggestions
Top Ten Safety Features
For years, carefree people rode around in cars with no seatbelts
or airbags, much less sophisticated computerized safety
features, all things we can't imagine our lives without
today. Of course, these days, there are a lot more people
in the car-driving population, especially one-handed, cell-phone-texting,
mascara-wand-waving, drag-racing yahoos. You definitely
need every safety feature you can get.
10 Safety Features
Automakers constantly strive to improve or add safety features
to their cars each year, aiming for four-or-five star crash-test
ratings (and thus more auto sales). Here are a few we like:
This sounds like a no-brainer, but most of us (okay, me)
forget about the net the minute we drive the car off the
lot. If you've got an open trunk space (mini-van, station
wagon, SUV) then use this to prevent all your junk from
flying into you during an accident (or during the avoidance
Side-impact airbags that protect the body are mostly standard
these days, but now there's an added feature: they can
sense the passengers' height, weight, and position (such
as leaning forward to the glove box) as well as speed,
and adjust their impact accordingly. How cool is that?
Side curtain airbags (aka head curtain) guard your head,
and should also be an important part of your airbag checklist.
Stability Control system's sensors can tell which way the
car's driver is headed vs. which way the car's actually
going. The car springs into KITT mode and uses your brakes
and cuts the engine. A sister system is the Rollover Prevention
System (variously known by different names) which brakes
your car if you're in danger of rolling. Knight Rider would
Sensitive Touch. A
parents' worst nightmare is a toddler who learns how to
open a door and runs out behind a backing-up car. Two
things can help: sensors in the back, which beep when
you're close to an object (also helps for tight parking
spots) and a rearview camera. A rearview camera actually
gives you a picture of what's behind you, so there's no
question of whether that's a bike or your baby. Oh, yeah,
and these help with parking, too.
A well-filled tire is one of the most basic, most important,
and most overlooked safety feature there is, so most new
cars now come with this feature. Some cars chirp at you
or have a lighted symbol when pressure's low; whatever
the method, get thee to a filling station and add air.
Me Up–Before You Crash.
Changing lanes without checking your blind spots and sleepy
driving are two major accident-causers. When you turn
on your signal, some cars "look" in your blind
spot for you and warn you if there's something there.
By the same token, if you have a little lane drift WITHOUT
turning on your signal, the lane-departure warning will
sound an alarm.
Me. We all use cruise control on long trips,
but sometimes it's hard to remember to turn it off (or
to do it in time) if traffic suddenly slows. Adaptive
Cruise Control brakes for you; if you think everything's
okay, you just tap the brake yourself. Emergency Brake
Assist is a similar system, which recognizes a panic stop
and helps you out.
Vision Assist. Though this sounds like something
a soldier would have more than your car, night vision
assist (aka adaptive headlights) has cropped up. This
cool technology shows you a picture of that thing standing
in the middle of the road at night. The system can also
adjust how long the light beams are and know if there's
extra light around, putting more or less light on the
subject as needed.
Response. This system calls for help when you
can't. It also does stuff like unlocks the doors, switches
off the fuel, and disconnects the battery when the airbags
the Safest Car You Can. You've got three kids
and a couple of their friends and you can't fit into a
sedan, so you're thinking about getting an SUV. Do you
really need one? Are you going off-roading this weekend,
or is your off-roading confined to toting the kids to
the soccer field? SUVs are big and high and lots of people
like them, but the fact remains they tend to roll over
a lot more than the other family stand-bys, the mini-van
and the station wagon. Plus, they get worse gas mileage.
Just something to think about. Whether your car's got
a few of these features or all of them, remember that
nothing substitutes for good, careful, well-rested, defensive
driving. Happy trails!