ESP and ABS
The safest car is one that can help you avoid having a collision in the first place and even the most conscientious drivers will benefit from ESP (Electronic Stability Programs) and ABS (Anti-locking brake systems). This tech allows driver to brake fully while still turning the wheel without affecting the cars balance or causing a skid – it could well mean the difference between hitting or missing an obstacle, and more importantly, making the difference between life and death. Car that has this: The latest Ford Focus offers both as standard
Flat tyres, or near flat tyres, can quickly lead to complete tyre failure and result in a car skidding out of control. TMPS (a tyre pressure monitoring system) makes sure that you become aware of a loss of pressure, and in which wheel, allowing you to pull over and check it before it becomes a danger. It’s not a failsafe system, but it certainly helps reduce the risks of a flat tyre going unnoticed. Car that has this: The award winning Audi A6 can be specified with TPMS.
Mounting a child seat in the back seat used to be a daily challenge, but ISOFIX fittings have made the process a simple click-and-go solution. The new industry standard fitting means that every car produced now has a permanent Isofix option with solid mounting points designed to match child seats – it means it’s almost impossible to put it in incorrectly. Car that has this: Most cars come with ISOFIX but family friendly SUV’s like the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso can have as many as three fixing points.
Simply put, the more airbags in your vehicle the better. Most new cars come with both driver and passenger airbags as standards with the addition of side bags an option too. Car that has this: The Volvo V40 even has an external airbag to protect pedestrians in the case of impact.
Automatic Lights and Wipers
You’d think it would be easy to remember to turn you lights on when it gets dark, but if you frequently forget… you won’t be the only one. Now it’s possible for cars to do it for you, even automatically activating in sudden dark spaces such as tunnels. Automatic windscreen wipers are also becoming a common place safety addition, helping you keep focused on driving when a downpour strikes. Car that has this: Many cars offer this feature including the excellent Audi A4 saloon.
Drivers getting distracted at the wheel are the biggest causes of car accidents. While being on your mobile phone (whether handling your handset, texting or calling) is illegal, it’s surprising how many drivers you see that still do use them on the go. Drivers should always use a Bluetooth system in their car if they need to make a call and many vehicles now come with a Bluetooth pairing system in-built, so a separate headset isn’t required. Car that has this: A popular option or a standard feature, it is included on Vauxhall’s executive Insignia model
Equipment of the future
It’s not just luxury cars that feature the above tech anymore, and there’s more safety tech to find its way to mainstream vehicles in the future too:
Adaptive cruise control – helps you keep a safe distance between you and the car in front.
Blind sport alerts – warns when you are in a blind spot.
City safe braking – brakes car when it detects unexpected objects.
Adaptive headlights – full beam bends around other cars.
Driver monitoring – checks driver is alert and recommends breaks.
Pre-crash system – on impact, sensors trigger the tightening of seatbelts, closure of windows and application of the brake to minimise occupant injuries.