Thanks to tougher testing and new technology our cars are now safer. It seems the auto manufacturers have been paying attention to the crash data studies and have begun to build cars that meet or exceed the crash safety standards for occupants. Newer cars are providing a greater level of safety in crashes and also providing new enhanced collision technology which up till now has not existed. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) identifies those vehicles that are equipped with this new technology on their website safe Car.gov.
These new crash avoidance technologies come in the following forms:
– Electronic Stability Control (ESC); Senses when your vehicle is starting to lose control and helps you maintain control during extreme maneuvers. Automatically applies the brake to one or more of the wheels to turn your vehicle to the appropriate direction.
– Forward Collision Warning (FCW); Alerts you when your vehicle is getting too close to another vehicle, allowing you to brake or steer, which can help avoid a crash.
– Lane Departure Warning (LDW); Senses and monitors lane markings. It warns you when your vehicle is unintentionally drifting to another lane, or leaving the road altogether, potentially allowing you to steer back into your lane.
Starting with 2011 models, NHTSA introduced tougher testing along with much more stringent rating criteria for their 5-Star Safety rating system. It also recommends those vehicles that provide crash avoidance technologies. Because of the more stringent tests, ratings for 2011 and newer vehicles should not be compared to ratings for 1990-2010 models. The new test now incorporates a smaller dummy size to replicate a woman or teenager. NHTSA says its tests will also collect more data from extra sensors that are placed on the crash test dummies.
The Overall Vehicle 5 Star Score is based on how well a vehicle protects the occupants during frontal, side crash safety and rollover resistance. It has also added a new test, a side pole test, which simulates a crash involving stationary objects, like a tree or telephone pole. The score is simple, 5 stars means the car received the highest rating while1 star the lowest.
When it comes to being safe in our vehicles there are some simple and low tech options that should not be overlooked.
– Proper Tire Pressure; Underinflated and over inflated tires are the leading cause of tire failure. Check your tires pressure once a month. Replace worn tires and make note of irregular wear, this could be a sign of wheel misalignment.