If you’re buying a car, one of the most important aspects to consider is its level of safety. While driving safely and adhering to the rules of the road go a long way, many features are becoming available to UK consumers to make sure their car is as safe as it can be. Below we will look at three of the most important safety features to look for when purchasing your new car.
Euro NCAP Rating
Euro NCAP is the standard testing organization for cars in the UK and Europe. Backed by both the UK government and the European Union, Euro NCAP testing goes beyond minimum safety requirements legislated by the government, and rates cars on a myriad of factors. While many automobile companies will advertise a high safety rating, it is important to know that safety testing is a long and detailed process, taking into account different safety concerns. For example, while a car may score well when involved in a front-end collision, it may perform poorly when involved in a side-impact test. One of the most important features that Euro NCAP monitoring considers is the strength of a car’s body shell. In case of an accident, the strength of your car’s body shell will largely determine how much damage your vehicle sustains. A strong body shell is one of the most basic ways of making sure you are protected in the event of a crash. Therefore, a detailed review of a car’s Euro NCAP test result, including how well its body shell fares in different crash scenarios, should be your first step when purchasing a new car.
With a strong body shell, however, visibility is often reduced, as windows shrink in order to increase the overall strength of the vehicle. This increased strength at the cost of larger blind-spots makes accidents resulting from poor visibility all the more likely. The best way to mitigate this risk is by investing in smart vehicle technology like visibility aids. These aids can take many forms, including electronic sensors and cameras to warn you of unseen objects when reversing, alert systems when another car enters your blind spot, and even infrared heat sensors to warn you of pedestrians at night.
Likewise, braking systems are using an increasing amount of this smart technology to reduce the likelihood of a serious collision. Automatic braking systems are now becoming standard in many cars in the UK, and for good reason. These braking systems use a vast array of technology, like cameras, cruise control, and radars, in order to reduce your car’s speed before an accident happens. Some of these systems are even equipped with GPS technology that will slow your car down at stop signs should you fail to do so yourself. Furthermore, a feature called electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) works to distribute the braking force evenly across all your tyres in order to help your vehicle come to a stop in a straight line.
Airbags, like seatbelts, have saved many lives over the years, and, also like seatbelts, their design has improved considerably. Dual-stage airbags are one of the most significant advances in airbag technology. Standard airbags inflate at the same rate and pressure regardless of what type of crash your vehicle is involved in, but dual-stage airbags determine the severity of your crash beforehand and inflate accordingly. For example, if your car is involved in a low-intensity crash, your airbag will likewise inflate slower than if you were involved in a high-speed collision. This technology is a vital tool in helping you avoid airbag-related injuries.
Likewise, seat-mounted airbags are a vast improvement over door-mounted airbags. Whereas door-mounted airbags may shift during a collision, seat-mounted airbags are much more likely to inflate where and how they are supposes to. An airbag that does not inflate properly is almost useless in protecting an occupant during a crash, thus seat-mounted airbags are a vital defense against serious injury.
Lastly, knee and side curtain airbags inflate from the steering column and above the roof lining, respectively. These airbags help reduce the risk of head, neck, pelvis, and leg injuries that can often result with standard airbags.
Car safety has improved considerably over the past few years. The days of relying solely on seatbelts and careful driving are long gone; nowadays safety features use a vast array of features, such as detailed safety ratings, smart technology, and improved airbags, to make sure you and your family are kept safe. By investing the time and money in the above safety features today, you will help mitigate the likelihood of being involved in a serious accident in the future.
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