Maybe you just purchased a brand new car, or have had one for a few years. While you know your late model car is nice and comfortable (and you know you look good in it, admit it!) you may not realize the high tech bells and whistles your new ride possesses.
The happy fact is that cars are now being built safer than in years past, and technology is helping to make it happen. Several components are standard on a new vehicle now that may not even have been heard of 20 years ago. All of these add up to safer vehicles and fewer and less serious accidents.
Here are 3 high tech ways your car is keeping you and your family safe:
First, remember your car is most likely equipped with anti-lock brakes, and you need to know how to operate them. Anti-lock brakes help avoid the danger of locked up wheels on wet or icy roads. When you need to stop, you need to stomp down on the brakes. Keep the pressure constant on the brake as you navigate the steering wheel and guide the car back onto the road. It’s critical to not take your foot off the pedal! This process is a bit unnatural, as we tend to want to lift our foot off the brake before we begin steering. It’s smart to get the hang of this in an empty parking lot so it becomes second nature.
Not sure if your car has anti-lock brakes? If it is a mid 90’s model or later, it probably does. Check your dash for “ABS,” or consult your owner’s manual. When away from home for work or vacation, make note to always ask if your rental car is equipped with ABS.
You also need to know your newer model car has electronic stability control. Believe us, this is good news, especially if you hit a patch of ice and starting to slide. An impact analysis from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes “electronic stability control (ESC) has been found to be highly effective in preventing single vehicle loss of control, run-off -the-road crashes, of which a significant portion are rollover crashes.” It estimates once all passenger vehicles have ESC, it will save between 1536-2211 lives annually!
ESC activates during these situations, and engages the brakes only on the wheels that will assist the driver in regaining control of the vehicle. If your car is in good condition, ESC could minimize the injuries of an otherwise serious accident.
While ESC is a high tech safety feature that will protect your vehicle in dangerous situations, it will not take the place of practicing overall safe driving, abiding by traffic laws, and paying attention to the road. A car traveling at excessive speed or on worn tires will not experience the full benefits of electronic stability control.
As with ABS, make certain your vehicle has electronic stability control by watching for a light that says “ESC” when you start the ignition.
A third high tech safety feature possibly built into your vehicle is a collision management system (CMS). Car manufacturers added the CMS into vehicles to apply pressure on the brakes when certain data signals that an accident is likely. The CMS works by calculating the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you using sonar, radar, or laser technology. Your anti-lock brakes may be activated by the CMS if the data returns information that concludes there is a good chance of an accident. This slows the vehicle, hopefully minimizing the risk of a wreck.
A newer model vehicle provides high tech safety features not found in older cars, which can add up to a safer driving experience for you and your family. Whether or not your car is equipped with these recently designed components, safe road travel still requires a driver skilled at maneuvering the vehicle, abreast of current traffic laws, and a vehicle that is properly maintained.Boning up on driving laws is easy by attending traffic school or a defensive driving course. In addition to becoming a safer driver, attending traffic school can qualify drivers for an auto insurance discount and allow for the dismissal of certain traffic tickets.