Top Safety Features to Look For in a Vehicle

With any new vehicle purchase you make, safety will likely be a primary concern.

Thankfully, modern technology has helped equip newer vehicles with all manners of safety-enhancing features to protect their occupants and help drivers avoid dangerous situations on the road. Today, let’s have a look at a few important, “must have” features, along with a few newer safety enhancements you should pay attention to when shopping for a new vehicle.

Anti-Lock Brakes

Though there has been some debate over which company was first to introduce four-wheel anti-lock braking systems to passenger vehicles, one thing is crystal clear — they are essential for preventing your wheels from skidding during sudden stops.

This, HowStuffWorks points out, provides a dual advantage over vehicles without ABS, as you’ll be able to “stop faster, and you'll be able to steer while you stop.” This is especially handy when attempting to brake in situations where you’re experiencing reduced traction, like in the snow or rain, and a definite must have for any new vehicle.

Head Injury Protection

Injuries to the head and neck are two of the most common occurrences during vehicle collisions, so selecting a vehicle that provides ample protection during crash situations is critical. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are two primary concerns that you should pay attention to in this respect: vehicle size/weight and crashworthiness.

The larger and heavier a vehicle is, the more protection it will provide you in the event of a collision. A structurally sound, crashworthy design, along with additional features like airbags, help enhance safety even further. You should be sure to check for these added features, along with the crash ratings of any vehicle you might want to purchase.

All-Wheel Drive

While the term all-wheel drive (AWD) is often used interchangeably with four-wheel drive (4WD), there is a critical difference, according to Digital Trends:

“A four-wheel drive system tries to send as much power to all four wheels as equally as possible for utmost traction, all-wheel drive is all about varying the amount of power to each wheel.”

AWD is more common on sedans, crossovers, and other such “regular road” vehicles, and while it can’t provide the same level of power that 4WD does for offroad vehicles, it does help increase stability in dicey weather, enhancing safety.

Rear View Cameras

Rear View, or backup cameras, provide you with a view of the area behind your vehicle. This helps alleviate the rear blind spot you’d encounter when trying to reverse your car without the aid of a camera and helps you avoid collisions when backing into parking spaces or attempting to parallel park.

Blind Spot Detection

In a similar vein, blind spot detection systems help alert you to obstacles in areas around your vehicle where you cannot see. Instead of a camera, though, blind spot monitoring systems use sensors to detect other vehicles along your car’s flanks. They provide a visual, audio, or tactile alert when another vehicle is present, informing you that it is unsafe to change lanes and helping to prevent collisions.

Lane Departure Warning

Last on our list are lane departure warning systems. These systems use sensors to detect when you might be inadvertently veering outside of your current lane, alerting you so that you can correct course. More advanced systems even aid you in avoiding lane edges and help keep your vehicle centered while driving.

Put Safety First

Your well-being on the road is paramount, and added vehicle protections are critical in ensuring it. Be sure to keep all these important safety features in mind when vehicle shopping, and work with a dealer who can help you make sense of which features will be most relevant to your driving routine so you can have the best ride possible.