Our cars are safer thanks to new technology and tougher testing. Auto manufacturers seem to have started to make cars that exceed or meet the safety standards for their occupants. The newer cars offer greater safety in crashes as well as enhanced collision technology that has never been available before. On safe Car.gov, the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), identifies vehicles with this technology.
These new crash-avoidance technologies are available in the following forms.
ESC – Electronic Stability Control; Detects when your vehicle loses control and helps maintain control in extreme maneuvers. Automates applying the brake to one or several wheels to direct your vehicle in the right direction.
Forward Collision Warning (FCW): Alerts you when you are too close to another vehicle. This allows you to brake and steer to avoid a collision.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW) – Senses and monitors the lane markings. It alerts you if your vehicle drifts into another lane or leaves the road. This could potentially allow you to return to your lane.
NHTSA began 2011 models with tougher testing and stricter rating criteria for its 5-Star Safety rating system. It recommends vehicles with crash-avoidance technology. Ratings for 2011 and newer vehicles shouldn’t be compared with ratings for models 1990-2010. To replicate a teenager or woman, the new test uses a smaller dummy. NHTSA claims that its crash tests will collect more data thanks to the additional sensors placed on the dummies.
The overall vehicle 5 star score is calculated based on the safety of the occupants in frontal, side and rollover crashes. A side pole test has been added to the test. This simulates a collision with stationary objects like a telephone pole or tree. Simple score: 5 stars indicate the highest rating, 1 star indicates the lowest.
There are simple, low-tech options to ensure safety in your vehicle.
Proper tire pressure is key to preventing tire failure. Your tires pressure should be checked once a month. Replace worn tires and note irregular wear. This could indicate wheel alignment.
Maintain your brakes. Having effective brakes is crucial for vehicle safety. It is important to inspect your brakes with each oil change.
– Coolant Level. Make sure that you have enough coolant for winter conditions. Coolant expands when it freezes, which can cause engine block damage. For most areas of the country, a 50/50 mix of coolant and water will suffice.
– Wearing a seatbelt can dramatically increase your chance of surviving a crash. Seatbelts saved 12,546 lives in 2010. Seatbelts can save lives. In the five years between 2006 and 2010, seatbelts saved more than 69,000 lives. Vehicle fatalities continue to fall. An estimated 32,310 people were killed in car crashes in 2011, a decrease of 1.7% from 2010. These fatalities are the lowest recorded since 1949. Statistics show that traffic deaths have been in steady decline since 2005’s peak, with a decrease of 26% between 2005 and 2011.
Manufacturers continue to be held accountable for these stricter standards. This is good news for us consumers. It provides us with greater protection and low-rate car insurance. The Monroney label, or as we call it window stickers, will now have the new label. The new sticker will show consumers safety ratings for frontal, side, and rollover. All new cars will have the new rating stickers.