Seat belts, airbags and anti-lock braking systems, when properly utilized and functioning, can reduce the severity of injuries and possibility of death in vehicle accidents. Although these three features have been around for a while, they continue to be rated as some of the most effective safety technologies for modern vehicles on the road.
Greatest Cause of Death
Between birth and the age of thirty, more Americans die from injuries sustained in car accidents than from any other cause. Despite the advent of newer and more automated safety equipment, millions of Americans are injured or killed each year in vehicle accidents.
The Top Safety Features
Although they have been engineered into vehicles for decades, these three remain the most effective safety features in reducing accident injuries and preventing motor vehicle fatalities.
According to the CDC, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to prevent serious injuries and fatalities when car crashes occur. Front seat vehicle occupants who are properly restrained are approximately 45 percent less likely to be killed and about 50 percent less likely to be seriously injured in a crash. Over the years, seat belt systems have been re-engineered to include shoulder straps, pre-tensioning to retract the seat belt in an impact and force-limiting tensioners to prevent overload of pressure to the chest area in a crash.
Experts claim that airbags are one of the most effective passive vehicle safety innovations of all time. The introduction of front airbags to cushion and absorb impact forces has helped reduce the number and severity of injuries in motor vehicle accidents, saving thousands of lives each year. Today’s vehicles include rear and side airbags, making them even more effective at protecting all vehicle occupants.
Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS)
Locked brakes and loss of vehicle control in hard braking or slippery conditions increases the severity of a crash impact. ABS enables the driver to keep the brake pedal fully depressed while the computerized system rapidly pumps the brakes to maximize braking ability. Since the driver is able to maintain full steering control, the chance of an accident is reduced. Anti-lock brake systems also maintain even brake application to all wheels, reducing the possibility of a skid, rollover or other loss of vehicle control.