Americans say they spend an average of 87 minutes a day in their cars, but a median of 60 minutes. A family with multiple children, however, often exceeds this time between the nonstop hustle and bustle of work schedules, school and extracurriculars, appointments, and other social events. Shuttling your kids around isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary, and it’s a parent’s responsibility to invest in a family vehicle that’s as safe as possible. Here are just a few safety features you may want to consider for your next family vehicle.
Advanced Seat Belts
Obviously, seat belts themselves are considered a basic and necessary feature equipped in every vehicle. However, many newer seat belts are designed with increased safety in mind. A new energy management feature, for example, enables seat belts to provide tension or slack during severe impacts in order to eliminate the forces on the shoulder belt to put too much pressure on the passenger’s chest. This feature also includes an element called a ‘load limiter’ that’s built right into the shoulder belt’s retractor and/or ‘tear stitching’ in the belt’s webbing that results in a gradual extension of the belt.
Another advanced seat belt safety design is the adjustable upper belts, which allows the passengers to alter the position of the seat belt’s shoulder strap in order to maximize comfort and accommodate for various sizes. This feature may even cause passengers to wear their seat belts more often, and considering the fact that 3 million people are injured every year in car accidents on U.S. roads, every seat belt worn is another potential life saved.
Injury protection devices, particularly aimed at preventing head injuries, are also becoming common in a number of vehicle models and manufacturers, even though passengers likely won’t even know they’re there.
“Head injury protection consists of foam or other energy absorbing material under the trim of the vehicle interior and is likely to be invisible to vehicle occupants. Some vehicles have head air bags. While all head air bags are designed to deploy in side impacts, some are also designed to deploy during rollovers. Both types of air bags are designed to help protect occupants from injuries caused when their head strikes the upper interior of a vehicle,” writes Reader’s Digest.
Finally, advanced stability control technology has made it easier for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles by sensing when the vehicle is on the verge of spinning out and automatically apply the brake to just one wheel. This reduces the chance of crashes in a number of situations — primarily inclement weather conditions. But overall, anytime an extreme steering maneuver is underway. Each day, people drive drunk almost 300,000 times, and devices like these can save lives if you ever need to swerve out of the way of an impaired or otherwise out-of-control driver.
A Final Note…
When choosing between these features, it’s important to come to a balance between safety and affordability. You should also keep in mind that although 84% of consumers prefer to buy a car in person according to Autotrader’s Car Buyer of the Future study, it’s extremely helpful to look into particular models and manufacturers online before visiting a dealership.
Ultimately, understanding the most cutting edge safety features can help you choose a vehicle that will keep your family safe for years to come.