Buying a Safe Car

When shopping for a new car, safety typically ranks high on most people's lists. While every car must meet minimum federal safety standards, all cars are not equally safe. There are several safety features you should always consider when shopping for a new car.

Restraint Systems
All modern vehicles employ a system of restraints that work together to protect occupants in a crash.

Lap and shoulder belts are designed to hold people in place reducing the chances of being slammed into the vehicle's interior or ejected. Seatbelts are highly effective at saving lives in vehicle collisions as long as they are used properly.

Airbags when used in conjunction with seatbelts are known to be extremely effective however airbags can be dangerous if occupants sit too close or do not wear their seatbelt. You should pick a vehicle that allows you to easily reach the pedals. Side airbags are designed to protect the chest and prevent occupants from hitting their heads on the interior.

Head restraints are required in the front seats of all new passenger cars. These keep the head from being snapped backward and prevent the neck from being broken or seriously injured. The head restraint should sit squarely behind the head and if it is adjustable, should lock in place.

Structural Design
A vehicle should have a strong occupant compartment, which is also known as the safety cage. Modern designs use crumple zones that absorb the force of the crash and bend to keep damage from reaching the occupants and reducing the chance of injuries.

Size and Weight
Large, heavier cars tend to be safer than small, lighter ones. In crashes, heavier vehicles push lighter ones backward reducing the chance of injuries in the bigger car and increasing them in the lighter one.

Anti-Lock Brakes
Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) unlike conventional ones, are designed to avoid locking up, preventing the vehicle from going into a skid and allowing the driver to continue to control it.

ABS works by quickly pumping the brakes so the wheels continue to turn while stopping the vehicle. When ABS goes into effect, the brake pedal will vibrate as the pumping action kicks into effect. This can take some getting used to but drivers should always continue to apply steady pressure.

Daytime Running Lights
Daytime running lights increase a vehicle's contrast against the background. The idea is that by increasing a vehicle's visibility, it prevents daytime accidents.