According to the World Health Organization, millions of auto accidents take place every single year, and many of those collisions result in life-altering injuries. Children are particularly susceptible to injury, especially if they are in a vehicle that isn’t designed for transporting children. That is why you need to be aware of safety features and ratings when it comes time to buy a new family vehicle. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you find a vehicle that is going to keep you and your children safe.
Structural Design Features
A vehicle’s occupant compartment is known as the safety cage, and that cage is specifically designed to resist impacts. As you are searching for a new vehicle, you should take a close look at the impact ratings to see how each vehicle stands up to severe damage. In most cases, larger vehicles with heavier occupant cages tend to safer. That being said, some larger vehicles have a higher risk of tipping over as well. Be sure to research the design of a vehicle and the impact rating to see if that weight is going towards impact-resistance while also having proper weight distribution before you buy it. The best solution is cars with the majority of the weight at the bottom of the vehicle, utilizing heavily fortified structural designs and lightweight but strong materials for the exterior of the safety cage.
Crash Avoidance Systems
Crash avoidance technology has become extremely advanced within the last couple of years, and many vehicles now have cutting-edge computer systems with dozens of external sensors. When those sensors detect an oncoming vehicle or nearby object, they can apply the brakes, turn the steering wheel, or trigger various restraints. Unfortunately, these systems usually can’t be found on vehicles that are more than a few years old. It is therefore important to invest in more modern models of vehicles if you want the absolute latest in safety technology. This is especially important if you or a family member that often drives your vehicle often forgets to check blind spots when turning or changing lanes. Even if a crash occurs simply because you didn’t see the vehicle, as long as they had the right of way, you’ll be liable for the damages and likely require the services of an auto accident attorney to defend your case. Having sensors in place to prevent that decreases that risk and vastly increases the overall safety of your vehicle,
Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)
Antilock brakes have become such an important safety feature that some insurance companies will actually lower your premiums if your vehicle has one. An antilock braking system is going to give you more control over your vehicle during an emergency stop, and that will be invaluable if you need to avoid objects or change directions. One of these braking systems will also reduce your risk of lock-ups and skidding when you are driving on ice. The locking up of brakes that occurs when your vehicle swerves on slippery surfaces is a major cause of accidents and injury, so having an ABS installed to prevent that is especially essential in areas where roads often become slippery from snow, ice, and even certain amounts of rainfall.
Private vehicles must have a seat belt for every single passenger, but those straps are just one of many restraint systems that manufacturers are now putting in their cars and trucks. Vehicles with higher safety ratings tend to have multiple restraint systems including front airbags, side airbags, and lockable head restraints. When a collision occurs, those restraints can prevent lacerations, whiplash, and other serious injuries. More modern restraint systems are especially important when transporting children, as the standard over-shoulder seatbelts are made for adults and do not restrain the right spots on a child, often causing injury. Back seats should have adjustable seatbelts that allow you to move the angle of the cross-shoulder belt so that it goes across your child’s chest rather than the neck like most seatbelts.
Vehicles today are becoming more and more advanced and safer for the transportation of children. However, not every modern vehicle is designed specifically for this purpose, and it’s important to be aware of what features are available and geared towards child-safety. Make sure to do careful research on any family vehicle you purchase to ensure that it carries the latest in safety technology and has all of the customizable features necessary to safely transport your family and protect them in the event of an accident.
By Meghan Belnap