Before a car ever makes it to your driveway, it’s been tested for a variety of passive and active safety features.
These days, all vehicles are tested for the following to gauge what makes a car safe.
- Crashworthiness: Cars are designed to absorb the impact of a crash. Their ability to crumple on impact is intended to protect the occupants. Older cars, built more like tanks, will hit an object and just transfer the energy. This means anyone and anything inside the car keeps moving, either against a seatbelt with great force or through a window. Vehicles are also tested to see how well they can resist rolling over in a crash, and what that type of impact could do to the body of the car.
- Weight: If you’ve ever wondered why school buses don’t have seatbelts, it’s because, in the event of a crash, heavier is better. The larger vehicle in a crash always comes out on top, better protecting its occupants. The same applies to the vehicle you drive; when two cars collide, the bigger one fares better.
- Center of Gravity: Vehicles are tested for their center of gravity as well. A car or truck with a lower center of gravity is less likely to roll in a collision or an abrupt change in direction.
- Safety Equipment: Our modern vehicles come with a lot of bells and whistles to increase safety. These range from sensors to the types of materials used in assembly. Whatever the feature, all safety equipment undergoes rigorous testing.
Safety equipment can include both active (preventative) components, as well as passive (after-the-fact) components. The Layton car repair experts are Master Muffler explain the differences below.
Passive Car Safety Features
A passive car safety feature is anything that is involved during an actual crash. These parts of your vehicle get to work at the time of impact to offer the best protection possible.
The first cars were invented without any thought of safety restraints for the occupants. Due in part to the slower speeds at which cars traveled, and with so few vehicles on the road, the likelihood of crashing into another one was low.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the use of modern seat belts reduces crash-related deaths by 45%. They reduce the risk of crash-related injuries by 50%. Vehicle occupants not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be thrown from the car during a crash.
Besides just holding a person in a vehicle during a crash, a seat belt is also designed to keep a person’s body in the optimal position to avoid injury or death while still in the car. Front seat passengers are held in place to allow the airbags to deploy with the potential for less bodily harm, while back seat passengers are held in place during impact to avoid hitting the seats in front of them.
Seat belts were first invented in the 1800s to hold airplane pilots in open cockpits, and they eventually became common in the use of taxis. It wasn’t until 1966 that seat belts were required safety features in all vehicles. And with all their safety benefits, it’s amazing that so many people today still neglect to buckle up.
Invented in 1968, airbags are a passive safety feature triggered by an electronic sensor during an accident. They’ve since evolved to be released by an actual explosion inside the car, meaning they can deploy from the steering wheel or dashboard at speeds of 100 to 220 miles per hour. This means airbags can carry enough force to break bones, and it’s best to be sitting at least 10 inches from an airbag in your vehicle. As scary as that may sound, airbags are timed to deploy on impact at precise angles and speeds to prevent a car’s driver and passenger from taking on harsher impact from the crash itself. Their use is most effective in conjunction with modern seatbelts.
If you’ve ever seen the aftermath of a collision in which windows were broken, you’ve probably noticed the small, cube-shaped pieces of glass all around. This is tempered glass, which is shatter-resistant and designed to reduce the risk of injury.
Regular glass, such as that used in the windows of most homes, creates sharp shards when broken. If this happened in your vehicle during a crash, you face the potential for deep gashes, even if you’re properly restrained by your seat belt.
Another type of safety window used in cars is laminated glass. Like tempered glass is a type of treated glass; it is actually two sheets of glass with a plastic layer sandwiched between them. Rear windows are typically laminated glass, while the windshield and front windows are tempered.
If you do find yourself in need of Layton car repair, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can perform services to keep your brakes in working order and ensure your steering isn’t affected by improper wheel alignment.
Active Car Safety Features
We’re fortunate to have a lot of advanced technology to help improve or create active car safety features. These are some of the parts and systems of a vehicle that help prevent a crash from happening in the first place.
When the first automobile was invented in the 1800s, it didn’t have headlights. Since there was just an engine in the car, and no electricity to power lights, if a driver needed illumination an expensive oil/acetylene lantern was used. To allow motorists to drive more safely in various conditions, many attempts were made to invent a headlamp that was waterproof and battery-powered. It wasn’t until the 1920s that cars were required to have electric lights with specifications dictating how much light they should use, and where they should be aimed.
By the 1980s, motorists could choose between fixed and replaceable headlights, and by the 1990s high-intensity discharge (HID) and LED bulbs were introduced. These days, halo headlamps automatically turn on, day or night, in certain makes and models. Laser light is also an option, as well as headlights that adjust their positioning based on the road ahead.
Mirrors and Cameras
Cars are equipped with rearview and side-view mirrors, and many also include backup cameras. These serve as active tools for drivers to use to prevent an incident in the driveway, or on the road.
One of the more systems in your car to help you avoid a crash is the brakes. Antilock means that in the event you need to slam on the brakes, the wheels won’t lock and cause you to skid. Instead, the brakes themselves will actually be pumping, even as your foot continuously holds down the brake pedal. The antilock brake system may apply to all four wheels, or for just the rear ones.
Stability and Traction Control
Built-in sensors can assist drivers to prevent sliding/skidding. If a driver overcorrects with the wheel, the car’s computer can compensate based on what it senses on the road. Traction can be improved by limiting how much the wheels spin during acceleration, or during a misguided maneuver. Some modern cars can even sense the proximity of another vehicle or object and can prep passive safety features for impact before it happens.
For Layton car repair, including engine tune ups, exhaust repair, and routine oil changes, give us a call at Master Muffler.