Vehicle Safety Features You Should Know About
August 19, 2021
People have to ask themselves lots of questions before buying a vehicle, like what they are looking for, what their budget is, and which makes and models have the highest ratings – but considerations about safety features should be at the top of the list. On average, more than 16,000 car crashes happen in the United States each day. While safety features cannot prevent every accident from occurring, they can make a positive impact on the prevalence of motor vehicle collision injury and fatality rates.
Many of the safety features in vehicles that some of us take for granted, like front passenger airbags, became mandatory more recently than you might think. For example, airbags have only been standard in passenger cars, vans, and pickup trucks for a little more than the last two decades (1998 for cars and 1999 for pickups and vans). 36,096 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents in 2019; according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver assistance technologies can save thousands of lives each year.
Here is a quick rundown on why features like adaptive cruise control, airbags, antilock brake systems, and electronic stability control are so important for drivers to have in their vehicles – and what other features safety experts recommend for limiting crash-related injuries and accident risks on national roadways, too:
- Antilock brake systems, or ABS. Antilock brake systems allow drivers to come to shorter stops and also prevent the brakes from locking up if a driver applies a great deal of pressure to them. Not only do ABS’ assist drivers in coming to a complete stop in a shorter period of time, but they also help a driver maintain greater control over steering the vehicle. Antilock brake systems first became standard in vehicles in the 1990s.
- The NHTSA reports that as of 2017, airbags have saved more than 50,450 lives. Crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, determined that airbags that protect both the head and chest (versus side-impact airbags) are the most effective at reducing overall injury risks, though side-impact airbags are also a useful and lifesaving safety feature in vehicles.
- TPMS, or tire pressure monitoring systems. Tire blowouts can lead to deadly accidents. Typically, tire blowouts result from under inflation that occurs either manually or from temperature changes. Changes in tire inflation are not always easy for the naked eye to observe, which is where tire pressure monitoring systems come into play. A TPMS constantly monitors the pressure in a vehicle’s tires to ensure proper inflation. Even if your car has a tire pressure monitoring system, remember to double check that the system is working properly and to use a manual gauge to check your tires’ pressure monthly just to be extra safe.
- Electronic stability control (ESC), which first became standard in vehicles in 2012. ESC helps prevent vehicles from sliding or skidding out, which is especially useful in larger vehicles that are susceptible to rolling over, like SUVs and pickup trucks.
- Adaptive cruise control. Adaptive cruise control systems automatically adjust a vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe following distance to prevent collisions from happening. While current law does not require adaptive or autonomous cruise control systems to be in every vehicle, lots of newer models out there have them. Adaptive cruise control systems can also be installed in most vehicles.
- Cars with adaptive headlights have bulbs that point in the direction that the vehicle is traveling. This modern safety feature improves visibility for drivers and also makes it possible to see hazards – particularly at nighttime – more quickly.
- Collision avoidance systems, also known as forward collision warning systems, pre-crash systems, and collision mitigation systems, employ cameras, radars, and lasers to prevent auto crashes from occurring or to reduce the severity of a crash if it does happen. For example, when a vehicle with a collision avoidance system detects an obstacle in its pathway, it applies the brakes should the driver fail to do so. Depending on how advanced a collision avoidance system is, it can give drivers a variety of alerts, such as cross traffic warnings, lane departure warnings, forward-collision warnings, and more.
- Similarly to collision avoidance systems, blind spot warning systems, or BSWs, use ultrasonic sensors, cameras, and radar to detect objects that are next to or behind a driver’s vehicle. In some cases, BSWs provide additional alerts when a driver engages their turn signal or when the technology deems changing or merging lanes as unsafe.
While the above list of available safety features is by no means exhaustive, it does give drivers a pretty good look at what features to consider before buying or leasing a new or pre-owned vehicle.
Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim
Even when a car has all the newest and most advanced safety features that are available on the market, the unfortunate truth is that catastrophic accidents will still happen. While advanced safety technologies provide us with a multitude of benefits, they are in no way error-proof. When a person sustains injuries in a motor vehicle accident, it is difficult to determine who – or what – is responsible. In some cases, a person is at-fault for the accident. In others, a defective safety feature or technology is culpable for the victim’s injuries. It is important to determine who or what party is at-fault after an accident in order to identify what type of legal claim(s) a victim should file for the injuries he or she sustained.
Getting into a car accident is scary and overwhelming, and even the months following the incident can be difficult for a victim to navigate. At Galfand Berger, our attorneys have successfully handled thousands of auto accident cases and are well versed in filing third party liability and personal injury claims on behalf of injured car accident victims. Here are just a few examples of our firm’s recoveries:
- Our client was left paralyzed from injuries they suffered in an automobile accident. Our attorneys pursued a case not only against the at-fault driver who hit our client head-on, but also against the vehicle manufacturer for a defective seatbelt and the overall lack of crash-worthiness of the vehicle. We recovered a $4,500,000 for our client.
- Our client was in his vehicle when a tractor-trailer struck him. The accident led to such catastrophic injuries that our client had to have both his legs amputated below the knee. Not only did our investigation of the accident reveal that the brakes on the trailer were worn out and that the tires were bald, but we also found evidence that the truck driver’s log was inaccurate and that he was driving an excessive amount of hours. Our attorneys successfully recovered $3,000,000 on behalf of our client.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident and you would like to learn more about filing a personal injury or third party liability claim, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Auto Accident Victims Since 1947
Galfand Berger LLP has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.