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How your vehicle's safety features help make you a safer driver

Young couple and their child driving in car

July 22, 2019. The technology in your vehicle has come a long way and there are more features than ever to keep you safe. Modern safety features dramatically lower fatal collisions and injuries on the road.

Basic safety features
We take some safety features for granted but could not do without them. Although it seems like they have been around forever and they are part of almost every car on the road, they are important in keeping us safe while driving. Always make sure to maintain your vehicle properly so that your safety features are in good working condition.

Bumpers
One of the most basic safety features, your bumpers protect your car from damage in small collisions. Bumpers today are much more advanced than older bumpers and a minor fender bender can cost a lot more to repair. Bumpers on most newer cars have proximity sensors and cameras that are used in parking assist and adaptive cruise control. These features help maintain your following distance while driving and help stop your car from hitting objects and other vehicles when you park.

Mirrors
Positioning your mirrors correctly is essential for driving safely and minimizing blind spots. Today’s mirrors can have blind spot sensors and side-and rear-view “mirrors” that use cameras instead of mirrors are in development.

Lights
Headlights, break lights, and turn signals are essential and need to be replaced as soon as the bulbs burn out. The technology in headlights has come a long way. Some headlights that stop light from projecting onto oncoming traffic and reflective surfaces, adjust their aim when the car is turning a corner, and automatically lower their intensity in residential areas are already on the market. Technology is being developed that would allow headlights to project symbols or messages onto the road, which would be useful when a driver is in distress or is communicating with pedestrians.

ABS Brakes
Anti-lock braking systems help prevent your wheels from locking in an emergency braking situation and help you maintain control on slick surfaces instead of skidding. It reduces the braking distance and increases the stability of the vehicle but is not effective for less than ideal road conditions. Electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) was recently developed to compensate for this, allowing for more control during adverse road conditions.

Airbags
Airbags were invented in 1968 but were not mandatory in all vehicles until 1998. Technological advancements in recent years have made them safer by using sensors to determine when it is safe for them to deploy.

Seatbelts
Seatbelts were invented in 1849 but were not standard in vehicles until the 60s. Today’s 3-point seat belts are much safer than the original lap belts and using your seatbelt is one of the most important things you can do to stay safe while driving.

Shatter-resistant glass
Shatter-resistant glass keeps the glass from breaking into sharp pieces in a collision. Windshields are usually made of two layers of glass with vinyl between them. This means that even if the windshield shatters the vinyl layer will keep it intact.

Side and rear windows are made of tempered glass, which is very strong and shatters into dull pieces when it breaks.

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