Style vs Safety

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Style vs Safety safety, car, buyingWhen you are buying a new vehicle, you have to consider many factors, including style, color, and available options. According to an NBC News article, safety should always come first. Find out if the vehicle has up-to-date safety equipment and how it performed in crash tests. Does it have side air bags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC)?

ESC is a safety mechanism that monitors the motion of the vehicle with computer sensors. If the sensors detect impending loss of control, ESC will automatically reduce speed and brake wheels individually as needed, allowing the driver to concentrate on steering. According to the article, a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) determined that ESC reduces the risk of death in a single-vehicle crash by 50% and reduces the chances of a rollover by 80%.


An estimated 10,000 traffic crashes a year could be prevented by ESC if every vehicle had it
, as stated in the article. However, this new technology is standard on less than half of new vehicle models, and optional on others.

Another important safety factor to consider when buying a vehicle is the air bags. Air bags are not all the same. Side air bags come in two types – the kind that protect the abdomen and chest, and the newer variety that cushion the head as well. The new version is better. The NBC News article reports that IIHS studies found that side air bags without head protection reduce risk of death in a side-impact collision by 26%, while side air bags with head protection reduce the risk by 37%.

Consumer Reports advices consumers to look for certain safety features when buying a vehicle:

  • Air bags
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Traction control (limits wheel spin while accelerating for maximum traction)
  • Safety belt enhanced features
  • Accident avoidance systems (includes brake assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision avoidance, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, active head restraints, and backup camera)
  • Tire pressure monitors
  • Telematics (automated security service)

An AARP bulletin notes that new body designs on automobiles are increasingly restricting drivers’ views. Vehicle designers have been giving the public what they want, which is sleeker designs, but sexy isn’t always safe, according to the bulletin.

More than 2 million people were injured in the U.S. in auto accidents in 2013, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Goodman Acker has created a car accident checklist that should help you cover your bases if you do find yourself in the unfortunate predicament of an accident. It’s good to have something like this in your glove box so you always have those next steps handy.

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