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Vehicle Safety Features and Ratings

Vehicle safety features and ratings (002)

When it comes to purchasing a new vehicle, one of the top concerns for many consumers is safety. With advances in technology and engineering, modern vehicles are equipped with a variety of safety features designed to protect drivers, passengers, and other road users in the event of an accident.

There are two main organizations that rate vehicle safety: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both organizations perform extensive crash testing and evaluate various safety features to determine the overall safety of a vehicle.

Here are some of the most common safety features found in modern vehicles and their importance in maintaining a high level of safety:

Air Bags

Airbags are designed to cushion and protect passengers in the event of a crash. Today’s vehicles typically have multiple airbags, including front airbags, side airbags, and curtain airbags, which protect passengers in the front and rear of the vehicle. Any vehicle you plan on buying new or used, or have driven (unless you’re into classic vehicles) all are equipped with airbags. In 1999, the government required driver’s airbags on all motor vehicles, but the first airbags offered were in 1973 on an #Oldsmobile #Toronado !

Anti-lock brakes (ABS)

ABS helps to prevent a vehicle from skidding and losing control during emergency braking situations. This system uses sensors to detect when a wheel is about to lock up and modulates the brake pressure to allow the driver to maintain steering control. The first ABS was a 1978 #mercedesbenz #sclass #W116 . The level of ABS modulation has come a long way since then, where cars have incredible control over the braking system.

Electronic stability control (ESC)

ESC is a system that helps drivers maintain control of their vehicle during sudden maneuvering or on slippery road surfaces. The system uses sensors to detect when a vehicle is about to skid and automatically applies brakes to individual wheels to help the driver regain control. ABS sensors are actually used- but sort of in “Reverse”- they compare front and rear wheel speeds to determine if a wheel is slipping, and regulate engine power, and even apply the brakes to control the vehicle. #Buick came out with the first iteration of traction control in 1971.

Blind-spot Monitoring

Blind-spot monitoring is a safety feature that uses sensors to detect when another vehicle is in the driver’s blind spot and alerts the driver with a warning light or sound. Most newer vehicles have it, and you’ve probably noticed how many vehicles are equipped with it, when a yellow light illuminates on their mirror as you get close to them. The 2003 #Volvo XC90 SUV takes the crown for the first blind spot monitoring.

Rearview cameras

Rearview cameras provide drivers with a clear view of the area behind their vehicle, making it easier to back up and park safely. In 1956 Buick Centurion concept car had an actual camera instead of a rear view mirror! Now all new cars are required to have them, per our Government regulations.

Lane departure warning

Lane departure warning is a system that uses sensors and cameras to detect when a driver is unintentionally drifting out of their lane and alerts the driver with a warning sound or vibration. The 2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class had lane departure warning. Other manufacturers closely followed in the early 2000’s.

Adaptive cruise control

Adaptive cruise control is a system that uses sensors and cameras to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front. This feature automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance and can bring the vehicle to a stop if necessary. Mitsubishi introduced a rudimentary lidar-based warning system in 1991 in its Debonair, but it was only capable of warning the driver. In 1995, Mitsubishi became the first OEM to offer an adaptive cruise control system with its Preview Distance Control system in the Diamante sedan, which used lidar and a camera for sensing distance to other vehicles. This system could automatically adjust the accelerator or downshift the transmission to slow down the car, but it couldn’t operate the brakes, relying on driver alerts in cases where the speed difference with the front vehicle was too great.

When shopping for a new vehicle, it’s important to consider the safety ratings and features offered by each model. To get a comprehensive understanding of a vehicle’s safety, it’s recommended to review both NHTSA and IIHS safety ratings and evaluations.

The vehicles we all practically drive now have the ability to protect the occupants vs a vehicle from 20+ years ago, and have proven to help reduce the risk of injury and death in the event of a crash. Unless your chasing classic vehicles, practically all new cars will be a solid choice for safety.


Alex Noll

CEO – ABR Houston

Your Local Experts in Audi, BMW, Mini, Rolls-Royce & Volkswagen Service In The Woodlands.

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