Standard Difference Makers
- Front & Side Air Bags
- Ejection Mitigation Protection
- Stronger Vehicle Roofs
- Anti-Rollover Technology
When it comes to driving on the roads of Chicagoland, safety is always on the minds of vehicle owners. Whether it’s a family vehicle or a sporty convertible, the levels of safety are constantly being upgraded. Are the aptitudes or attention spans of drivers going up? Well, that’s another discussion.
SAFETY & STATISTICS
Choosing a particular vehicle can make you statistically safer on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the size of the vehicle you drive can make a big difference, especially when it comes to fatalities.
It probably comes as no surprise that of the Top-10 safest vehicles (no fatalities in a 4-year period), the majority were SUVs. Remember that little thing about physics, speed and mass and energy, well, as larger vehicles collide with smaller vehicles the winner is never the smaller, lighter vehicle. In fact, during the four-year period of 2012 to 2015, IIHS reports that the most fatalities were all in very small, compact cars.
So, how are vehicles becoming safer? A lot of it has to do with the implementation of new technologies and, in particular, the availability of those technologies on lower level vehicles. Luxury models have always been the very first to offer tech advances, but when those technologies filter down to mainstream vehicles (and becoming standard equipment) there is a greater number of the population being protected.
New vehicles with automatic braking or one of the other advanced crash-avoidance systems are making a difference. These systems protect drivers by taking control of critical aspects of the vehicle operation. Once reserved for only the most expensive vehicles, these systems are now available from all of the major manufacturers.
And the numbers tell a story that puts a lot of credence in safety features, new materials and innovative designs. In fact, according to IIHS, it was only 2006 that there was not a single vehicle that could claim a ‘no fatalities’ rating.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has regularly increased the safety standards for U.S. auto manufacturers. In the last three decades, the NHTSA has made front and side air bags, ejection mitigation protection, stronger vehicle roofs and anti-rollover technology standard for anything sold in the nation.
The biggest innovation to impact safety in U.S. vehicles has been the innovation and required implementation of the air bag. In addition to enhanced structural designs, new standards for side air bags, and anti-rollover technology, also known as Electronic Stability Control, have been keys to making more vehicles safer on the road. No doubt, these features have also added to the expense of base model vehicles, but the benefits far outweigh the possible shortcomings.
Decades ago, seatbelts and airbags were the leading safety technology. Their focus was to prevent serious injuries or death in a crash. With today’s innovations in technology, car makers are delivering systems that will help avoid the crash entirely, or at least minimize the impact. That’s progress.