We take some of the safety devices in our cars for granted these days but many of these additions to our standard vehicles have been proven to save lives over the years, as a look on Netcars.com will remind us.
Here are ten of the best safety additions, some of which are obvious while some are worth considering as an optional extra.
1. Seat Belts. It seems incredible to believe that the use of seat belts was optional in most countries until relatively recently. Those that can remember will recall the horrific images of facial disfigurement suffered by drivers and passengers that had been thrown through a windscreen. Deaths weren’t uncommon either and if you’re tempted to leave your seat belt off even for the briefest of trips, the advice is simply ‘don’t’.
2. Air Bags. Death or disfigurement also became evident for drivers who were forced into the frame of their steering wheel at speed. The first commercial air bags were on trial in the 1970s but they didn’t take off until around 20 years later. These days, the majority of vehicles are fitted with air bags as standard.
3. Hands Free and Blue Tooth. The law prohibiting cell phone usage while driving is there for a reason. Distraction causes accidents and the fitting of a hands free kit or the use of Blue Tooth is a very underrated safety device.
4. Child Seats. Once again, it seems impossible to believe that until recently, young children had no car seats and young babies would even travel on their parent’s lap. The introduction of the child seat has been a major landmark in accident prevention.
5. Fire Extinguisher. Vehicle fires are becoming increasingly common but having a fire extinguisher handy can save lives as well as protecting your vehicle and its contents.
6. Smoke Detectors. This is another, less common safety device that will doubtless become more popular in cars as the years progress. In the same way that smoke detectors in a home will give you advance warning of any issues, these devices will warn you and give you time to deal with the problem and get out of the car if necessary.
7. Blind Spot Mirrors. Many accidents are still caused by cars pulling out in front of oncoming vehicles simply because they are in their ‘blind spot’. The ingenious blind spot devices are placed on your side mirrors and they amplify the area to your side and decrease the chances of you failing to spot oncoming traffic.
8. Parking Sensors. The introduction of parking sensors to many modern vehicles is designed really to avoid minor accidents at low speed. However, any such collision can cause injury so the parking sensor shouldn’t be underestimated as a car safety device.
9. Volvo City Safety. This is a new development that has won awards for Volvo and it is hoped that it will be introduced as standard on many cars soon. Essentially, the car assesses vehicles ahead of it and if it ‘senses’ the driver hasn’t reacted and a collision is imminent, it will apply the brakes.
10. Anti Lock Brakes. The arrival of anti lock braking was another major benefit for road safety. Whereas a driver may brake suddenly and skid into the path of another vehicle when their brakes are locked, this device eradicates that possibility.