Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

Car Safety

Car safety covers body structures, accident-avoidance systems, occupant protection, and all the associated technologies that help save those inside (and outside) the vehicle from harm. The subject is generally grouped into two areas: active safety and passive safety. Active safety refers to features or attributes that...
Read More
Car safety covers body structures, accident-avoidance systems, occupant protection, and all the associated technologies that help save those inside (and outside) the vehicle from harm.

The subject is generally grouped into two areas: active safety and passive safety. Active safety refers to features or attributes that might allow you to avoid an accident; passive safety refers to features or attributes that help protect occupants during (or right after) a crash.

In the scope of automotive history, the focus on safety is a relatively recent one. Fifty years ago, relatively minor accidents could leave occupants mortally wounded; and even a decade ago, occupant safety wasn’t nearly the priority that it is for today’s new-car shoppers.

In the U.S., crash-test programs have driven occupant protection rapidly since the 1990s. While the federal New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) has overseen crash-testing of vehicles since 1979, the insurance-funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has also been crucial. It began crash-testing and rating new vehicles in 1995. Since then it’s added side impact, rear impact (seat), and roof strength tests, as well as a new small-overlap frontal test. In order to provide more useful information for shoppers, the NCAP tests and ratings were revised in 2010.

Frontal-impact occupant airbags were first introduced in the 1970s, but they didn’t become widely offered in luxury cars until the 1980s and most mass-market models until the 1990s (they were required by 1998). Side-impact airbags were introduced in luxury cars in the 1990s, then made it into most mass-market models by the middle of this past decade; they were required by 2009, with a later phase-in of head-protecting airbags.

Electronic stability control has been another critical life-saving feature—especially in reducing the number of rollover-related fatalities. And in more recent years, a host of active technologies—ranging from lane-departure systems to blind-spot systems to those that help warn if you’re drowsy—have added to driver safety. Some even help brake the vehicle or nudge it back on course.

In this age of more rakish designs—and with a much wider range of vehicle sizes, shapes, and packages than in the past—outward visibility has become an important issue. In some vehicles, camera systems help make up for this in parking, although visibility still might make lane changes more difficult. Additionally, the way in which a vehicle steers, brakes, and even accelerates can play a role in safety, as well as how it rides over certain road surfaces.

Driver distraction remains one of the top safety issues of the day, which has led to much debate over whether advanced vehicle interfaces that allow easier, integrated hands-free communication increase or decrease overall safety.

In the future, so-called driverless car projects could permit enhanced safety by essentially automating the act of driving while in gridlock or on a commute.

Read Less
 
2012 Volkswagen Passat, Routan: Recall Alert

2012 Volkswagen Passat, Routan: Recall Alert

Volkswagen is conducting two voluntary safety recalls involving small numbers of the 2012 Volkswagen Passat mid-size sedan and the Routan minivan. 2012 Volkswagen Passat recall The larger of the two recalls is for certain 2012 model year Volkswagen Passat sedans equipped with 2.0-liter TDI clean... read more

April 11, 2012 by  - 0
 
2013 Lexus GS 350

2013 Lexus GS 350 Named A Top Safety Pick

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has put the 2013 Lexus GS sedans through its battery of tests, and the completely redesigned Lexus sport-sedan family has... read more April 3, 2012 by  0


 
Older driver

Older Drivers Worry About Not Being Able To Drive: AAA

If it’s one thing we Americans cherish, it’s our ability to get in our cars and drive. But for nearly half of seniors, according to a new AAA survey, losing their... read more April 3, 2012 by  4


 
2004 Honda CR-V EX

2002-2004 Honda CR-V, 2003 Honda Pilot: Recall Alert

Honda is conducting a voluntary safety recall on certain 2002-2004 model year CR-V small crossovers and 2003 Honda Pilot SUVs over concerns about faulty headlight wiring. A... read more April 3, 2012 by  0


 
2013 Cadillac XTS

Pay Attention To That Buzz Below: Cadillac’s New Safety Alert Seat

With the proliferation of chimes and warning lights to alert drivers of potentially dangerous safety situations, it’s easy to understand the tendency to become somewhat... read more March 31, 2012 by  0


 
Teen Driver - Ed Cunicelli, courtesy The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Head Injuries The Most Common In Teen Vehicle Crashes, Report

Sadly, every parent’s worst nightmare becomes a reality in far too many instances involving teen vehicle crashes. In addition to the fatalities that claim so many young... read more March 30, 2012 by  0


 
2006 Honda CR-V

2006 Honda CR-V: Recall Alert

Honda is conducting a voluntary safety recall of certain 2006 model year Honda CR-V small crossover SUVs over concerns about a defective weld that could cause the right front... read more March 28, 2012 by  0


 
Texting while driving

Chapel Hill, North Carolina Bans Driver Use Of Mobile Phones

While many states, counties and municipalities have laws on the books regulating the use of cell phones while driving, Chapel Hill, North Carolina has become the first city... read more March 27, 2012 by  1


 
Texting while driving, by Flickr user ericathompson

Top Teen Driver Distraction? Electronic Devices, Says AAA Study

Parents of newly-licensed teens, take note. In the first study using in-car video footage to focus specifically on teen distracted driving, the AAA Foundation for Traffic... read more March 27, 2012 by  0


 
2012 Toyota Sienna

2012 Toyota Sienna, 4Runner: Recall Alert

Gulf States Toyota is recalling certain 2012 model year Toyota Sienna minivans and 4Runner SUVs equipped with a non-Toyota remote engine starter module that may be defective... read more March 27, 2012 by  0


 
Toyota's FollowMe navigation unit

LaHood's Safety Regulations Say Moving Maps Are A No-No

Back in February, we told you about some new rules -- or rather, suggestions -- that the Department of Transportation had compiled for automakers. The rules/suggestions were... read more March 27, 2012 by  1


 
2012 Chevrolet Suburban

2012 Chevrolet Suburban, Express & 2012 GMC Yukon XL, Savana: Recall Alert

General Motors is recalling certain 2012 model year Chevrolet Suburban HD full-size SUVs and Express vans and certain 2012 model year GMC Yukon XL HD full-size SUVs and... read more March 26, 2012 by  0


 
Angry teen driver

Think Texting While Parked Is Safe? Think Again, Buddy

Texting and driving is bad: you know it, we know it, Ray LaHood knows it. But texting while parked isn't always such a great idea, either -- especially in crowded urban... read more March 26, 2012 by  1


 
2011 Honda Odyssey Touring

Car Seat Compliance Up: AAA Survey

Just one year after the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its updated car seat recommendations, a new survey from the AAA shows that Americans are definitely... read more March 21, 2012 by  0


 
2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover revealed at Los Angeles Auto Show, Nov 2011

2013 Mazda CX-5 Earns Top Safety Pick From IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest rating, the Top Safety Pick designation, is a highly sought-after recognition of crash-test safety--it's only awarded to... read more March 20, 2012 by  0


 
2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover

2013 Mazda CX-5 Is Top Safety Pick

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just named the all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover a Top Safety Pick. An all-new model for 2013, the CX-5 won the top... read more March 20, 2012 by  0


 
Advertisement
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.
Advertisement