Car safety features to look for in a new car

Posted in Auto

Parent buckles toddler into car seat

You know there are a few choices you’ll need to make when shopping for your next ride. But something you won’t compromise on? Car safety.

And rightly so. Improved safety features on cars have dramatically lowered driving fatalities and risk of injury over the years1. A survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed improved safety features led to 7,700 fewer driver deaths in one year than if those vehicles had remained the same since 1985.

Purchasing a new vehicle is a big financial decision. You want to be sure you’re getting features that will keep you and your loved ones safe for years to come. As you shop for your next car, consider looking for the following car safety features.

What are standard safety features in cars?

Many standard safety features in newer vehicles may not be available in older vehicles, so it’s a good idea to double check if you’d like these features in your next car. Some standard car safety features include:

  • Airbags and side-curtain airbags 

    While traditional airbags help protect occupants during a front-impact crash, side-curtain airbags offer protection in a side-impact crash and some may also help prevent ejection if the car rolls over.
  • Anti-lock brakes

    Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) help prevent wheels from locking up when heavy braking is applied. This can potentially help a driver get out of a skid and steer to safety.
  • Seatbelts

    Required on all vehicles, seatbelts now have enhanced features like pretensioners, inflatable safety belts and adjustable anchors to help this standard safety feature do its job more effectively.
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)

    Vehicles are required to have LATCH system seat belts to make child-seat installation easier and more secure.
  • Electronic stability control

    This helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle during extreme steering maneuvers by keeping the vehicle headed in its intended direction. The system helps the driver avoid losing control, resulting in the rear of the vehicle “spinning out” or the front of the vehicle “plowing out.”
  • Tire pressure monitoring system

    This alerts the driver when one or more tires is experiencing less-than-optimal tire pressure. The system can also help warn a driver that a tire is losing air before it goes completely flat.
  • Blind spot warning

    This feature uses sensors to detect vehicles the driver is unable to see next to or behind the car. The system may provide an additional warning when the turn signal is activated and it is currently unsafe to change lanes.
  • Rearview camera

    Also known as a backup camera, this safety feature helps the driver see behind the car to prevent backing into people, children or objects while going in reverse.
  • Voice-assist

    This feature helps drivers to make calls, send text messages, look up directions or information online, set appointments and complete many other tasks by voicing a command while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
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What are new car safety features and technology?

These safety systems are becoming more widely available and can help drivers avoid collisions, change lanes safely and reduce your chances of being involved in an accident. Look for:

  • Lane departure warning

    This technology uses a camera system to track the car’s position along with lane markings and warns the driver if they are unintentionally driving too close to the edge or outside of the lane.
  • Lane keeping assist

    This technology helps bring the car back to the middle of its lane when the driver doesn’t respond to a lane departure warning.
  • Adaptive headlights

    Unlike traditional, stationary headlights, electronic sensors detect your steering angle and swivel your headlights based on the direction your car is heading.
  • Adaptive cruise control

    This feature slows and speeds up your vehicle to keep pace with the car in front of yours to help maintain a safe driving distance.
  • Traffic jam assist

    This technology assists drivers during traffic jams and enables your car to automatically speed up or slow down as it follows the car ahead.
  • Right-side rearview camera

    Mounted on the right side-view mirror, this camera activates when the driver uses their right-side turn signal. The camera provides a rearview look of the right side of the vehicle to help the driver change lanes safely.
  • Self-park or park assist

    This automated steering technology activates to help a driver park the vehicle while the driver operates the gas and brake. Some self-parking systems also handle acceleration and braking.
  • Forward collision warning

    This technology scans for cars or objects ahead of the vehicle and warns the driver of an impending collision using a visual or audible signal.
  • Automatic emergency braking

    This safety feature works with forward collision warning to help the driver avoid a collision by automatically applying the brakes.
  • Pedestrian automatic emergency braking

    This alerts the driver of an upcoming crash involving a pedestrian and can automatically apply brakes to avoid impact.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

    This technology alerts the driver if something crosses the vehicle’s path as it moves in reverse. Some systems will also deploy automatic braking if an object is detected.

Do safety features lower car insurance?

Some insurance companies offer discounts if your vehicle has advanced safety technology, such as blind spot warning or automatic emergency braking. Grange Insurance offers an advanced technology discount for our auto insurance customers. Learn more about this discount by speaking with your independent insurance agent.

Talk to your local independent agent to learn more about Grange’s auto insurance and Safety Tech discount. This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. If the policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies.

- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
- National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Consumer Reports

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