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
 
2013 Honda Civic: First Compact To Earn 'Top Safety Pick+'

2013 Honda Civic: First Compact To Earn 'Top Safety Pick+'

If you're shopping for a small, economical car and care about safety, we have a new winner: the 2013 Honda Civic. The 2013 Honda Civic (both in Coupe and Sedan form) has become the first compact car to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick Plus (TSP+)... read more

March 7, 2013 by  - 1
 
2013 Chrysler 200 Sedan

Car Recall Alert: 2013 Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger Have Possible Fuel Tank Issue

Chrysler is conducting a voluntary safety recall of certain 2013 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger mid-size cars over concerns that a broken fuel tank control valve could lead... read more February 25, 2013 by  2


 
2013 Ford Escape

The Big Fix: Six Vehicles Most Affected By 2012 Recalls

It's become a rite of passage for car ownership: At some time, you're likely to get a notification letter in the mail, calling you back to the dealership for a fix on a... read more February 17, 2013 by  1


 
Cameras

IIHS: Red-Light Cameras Improve Safety, Reduce Violations

Traffic cameras cause a lot of controversy. Some folks appreciate the way that the mere presence of a camera can make motorists drive more cautiously. Others see them as a... read more January 25, 2013 by  8


 
President Obama's limousine

The Beast: President Barack Obama's High-Tech Super-Limo

Last year the world snickered at the sight of the Presidential limousine high-centered on a Dublin driveway. But it pays to remember that we were laughing at the foreign... read more January 21, 2013 by  10


 
rearview camera

Another Delay On Rearview Camera Mandate

The year 2012 is officially over, and gone with it is any progress on car rear-visibility rules by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). December 31st... read more January 4, 2013 by  0


 
2011 Subaru Outback

Subaru Recalls More Than 600,000 Vehicles For Lighting Defect

Subaru is recalling more than 600,000 cars--including some Legacy, Outback, Tribeca, and Forester models--for a defect in door lights that may short circuit and lead to a... read more January 3, 2013 by  0


 
2013 Honda Accord EX-L

New Frontal Crash Tests: Honda Accord Aces, Toyota Camry Flubs

While you may concede that money can't buy you love, it might seem hard to believe that extra money spent on a luxury vehicle wouldn't be money well spent on keeping your... read more December 19, 2012 by  0


 
2013 Dodge Charger AWD Sport

Winter Weather Car Prep Tips To Keep Your Family Safe On The Road

While some portions of the country may have unseasonably warm weather this winter, other areas will be hit with classic winter deep-freeze, coupled with high snowfall... read more December 19, 2012 by  0


 
2010 Ford Fusion

Safety Agency Upgrades Probe Of Trapped Gas Pedals In Ford Vehicles

Following a more than two-and-a-half-year-old investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into possible unintended acceleration of Ford... read more December 17, 2012 by  0


 
2003 Honda Odyssey

Honda Recalls 807,000 Minivans, SUVs In U.S. For Rollaway Problem

Honda is certain recalling 2003 and 2004 model year Odyssey minivans and Pilot SUVs and Acura MDX SUVs from the 2003 through 2006 model years for an ignition interlock issue... read more December 13, 2012 by  1


 
2013 Cadillac ATS

2013 Cadillac ATS Rates Five Stars In NHTSA Crash Testing

If you still conjure up images of the Cimarron or Catera when you think about entry-level Cadillac models, think again: it’s latest offering, the ATS has been... read more December 7, 2012 by  0


 
Driver Assists - channel on YouTube

“Driver Assists” Channel Makes YouTube Debut

As consumers flocked to the Los Angeles Auto Show to gaze and get up close and personal with the bevy of all-new, redesigned and concept cars on display, the Auto Alliance... read more December 4, 2012 by  0


 
2012 Honda Civic EX-L sedan

2012 Honda Civic Recalled For Steering Column Flaw

Honda is conducting a voluntary safety recall of a small number of 2012 model-year Civic compact cars to fix a problem with the steering column. A notice on the National... read more December 3, 2012 by  0


 
2013 Ford Escape

2013 Ford Escape, Fusion Recalled For Fire Risk (UPDATED)

Ford [NYSE:F] will recall about 89,000 2013 Ford Escape SUVs and 2013 Ford Fusion cars equipped with 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines over concerns about a fire risk. About... read more December 3, 2012 by  3


 
2013 Audi A4

2013 Audi A4, S4, Buick Verano Earn NHTSA Five-Star Safety Rating

The 2013 Audi A4, Audi S4 and Buick Verano compact luxury sedans have each earned the coveted five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety... read more December 3, 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.