When people think of car safety, they usually think of seat belts and airbags. These are undeniably essential features; acting to protect you and lessen the impact should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a car crash. However, your car has other safety features that work hard at keeping you safe. Here are four essential safety features found in your car that you might not know about.
You might think that windshields are merely a comfort feature to keep out the wind and rain to ensure an enjoyable car journey. Windshields provide important structural integrity to your car. A sturdy windshield could be the difference between life and death if you are involved in a head-on collision, the reinforced glass acting as your first line of defense, and a strong barrier preventing you from being ejected from your vehicle. Due to these essential safety features, you must ensure your car has windshield protection. Driving with cracks in your windshield not only damages the integrity of your car, but it is also illegal in some states as cracks can obstruct the driver’s view of the road.
2. Antilock braking system (ABS)
In older cars that don’t have an ABS, braking hard can cause the wheels to lock, which can make the situation even worse and could potentially be dangerous. An ABS prevents your wheels from locking by using sensors at each wheel to maximize braking action. This allows you to keep control of your vehicle as you are braking, allowing you to maneuver around an obstacle if necessary. Don’t be alarmed if you feel a pulsing sensation when you slam on your brakes – this is just the ABS applying maximum power and control to bring you to a standstill. You should receive a notification on your dashboard if you have a problem with your ABS. While there are some repairs you can carry out yourself, always make sure that you take your car to a mechanic if you are unsure.
3. Traction control and electronic stability control
Traction control uses a car’s ABS to reduce wheel spin during acceleration, ensuring that the wheels have the maximum traction. This is a particularly important system when it is raining and during the winter months when the roads are icy. Traction control helps to prevent your vehicle from skidding in poor road conditions, ensuring that you remain in control of your vehicle and helping to avoid collisions. Electronic stability control is an extension of traction control, using sensors to keep a vehicle on its intended path while making a turn to prevent skidding or slipping. This is a particularly useful feature during winter driving and when driving at an elevation. Electronic stability control is a standardized feature in cars produced after 2012. However, having this feature does not automatically prevent collisions: you must still practice responsible driving to ensure the safety of yourself and other road users.