Before you Make a Purchase, Do Some Safety Checks

By: Glady Reign

The most essential thing in this world is life and to protect it, one should put it in his topmost priority. This is also true in choosing cars. A potential car buyer should not be confined in a box that only offers elegance and comfort; he must go beyond that demarcation.

To help purchasers make the right purchasing decision on his next car, safety features should not be overlooked. Crash test results, airbags, child seats, auto systems and more are to be carefully measured. There are several factors in evaluating the overall safety of the car. These factors include its performance in an emergency-handling situation to protect car occupants.

In comparing safety potentials of vehicles, one should also consider appropriate variables. Do some safety checks on these variables to ensure optimum safety capabilities. One significant variable is the Insurance-industry crash-test rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a research group, is aimed at conducting its own series of crash tests to assess the car's safety features. In conducting its frontal-offset crash, a vehicle is run at 40 mph into a deformable barrier. Instead of engaging the whole width of the car's front end, the barrier covers just the 40 percent of the car directly in front of the driver.

The IIHS uses a deformable barrier in doing the frontal-offset crash test. It more closely simulates a typical form of fatal crash - the car-to-car, driver's-side-to-driver's-side collision. Such crash test emphasizes the structural durability and ability of the car to protect the area around the driver without collapsing. IIHS rates cars as Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor. Earlier the group has formulated its own side-impact tests that simulate a vehicle being struck in the side at 31 mph by a vehicle with the height and weight of a conventional pickup or sport utility vehicle. The test is said to be more severe than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) side-crash test.

Another safety variable is the NHTSA's crash rating. The government agency conducts two types of crash tests - the side impact and the full frontal. The highest vehicle rating is five-star with fewer stars indicating greater probability of serious injury.

Both IIHS and NHTSA crash results are only comparable to vehicles within similar weight class. If the car's weight is different, the results could vary.

Other safety variables include antilock brake system (ABS), airbags, seat-belts and head restraints. ABS prevents wheels from locking up during a hard stop, provides shorter stops, helps keep the vehicle straight, and allows the driver to maneuver during a panic stop. Air bags, on the other hand, are mandatory in most states. But it is worth checking what kind of airbags a car has. Seatbelts are essential. The most efficient so far is the three-point lap-and-shoulder belts. In addition, some automakers equip their vehicles with safety-belt pretensioners and force limiters. Head restraints, conversely, are essential for protecting neck against possible injuries.

Child safety is another important variable. The compatibility of the car's seat and the child seat should be determined to secure a snug fit. Accident avoidance features should also be noted. Consider braking, acceleration, visibility, seat comfort, driving position to ensure a safe ride. Features like the electronic stability control (ESC) and rollover resistance are also significant aspects to ponder on. But the common denominator is to be secure about the quality of auto parts. The
along with other parts accessories should be maintained and repaired when called for.

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