How vehicle design ensures your safety

Image from Shutterstock.

In recent years, car manufacturers have taken automobile design to the next level by creating additional safety features that increase the chances of ‘post-crash survivability’ in the event of an accident.

If you’ve ever wondered how the design of your vehicle ensures your safety, here is a breakdown:

Vehicle Body Design

First and foremost, any car owner needs to remember this: the higher the price tag of the vehicle, the higher the safety rating of the vehicle. This is not to say that smaller, more economical vehicles are unsafe, but rather that luxury vehicle designers go to extra lengths to test the vehicle’s design, as well as their safety features.

The body of each vehicle is designed in such a way that it includes crumple zones and safety cells – these are the car’s most basic safety feature. A crumple zone is the area in which the collision is absorbed and dissipated, diverting the force away from the passenger compartment. This zone is also responsible for reducing the negative acceleration impact force on those who are inside the vehicle. Luxury car brands are equipped with front, sides and a back crumple zone while economic vehicles are often only designed with a crumple zone in the front of the vehicle.

Vehicles that are designed with a safety cell allow extra protection for passengers. The passenger partition is strengthened with robust and sturdy materials which allows ample ‘survival space’ in the event of a collision.

Safety Features

Did you know that, in the event of an accident, authoritiesmay investigate that you applied the appropriate safety protocol? This may include whether or not the driver was wearing a seatbelt or whether the driver turned on the vehicle’s lights. We can thank various vehicle designers for the following safety features that are either the responsibility of the driver (like the lights and clipping in your seatbelt) or play a role regardless of the driver’s habits:

  • The headlights which alert oncoming drivers to the presence of the vehicle at night and also assist the driver in finding their way in the dark.
  • Padding of the instrument panel which can be struck by passengers in the event of a collision.
  • Collapsible universally jointed steering columns which reduce the risk of impact on the driver in the event of a head-on-collision.
  • Seatbelts limit the movement of the passenger in the event of an accident where shock and force can catapult them forward.
  • Airbags inflate in the event of a collision and act as a pillow to soften the movement and shock of the vehicle’s crumple zones.
  • Laminated windshields ensure that passengers are not showered in glass shards in the event of an accident.

Additional Safety Features

There are car owners who are lucky enough to be able to spend large amounts of money on adding various ‘luxury’ safety features to their vehicles. These include:

  • Pedestrian Protection Systems (PPS) that allow the vehicle to sense pedestrians in front of and behind the vehicle. There are also systems that increase the chances of ‘post-crash survivability’ for pedestrians who are hit.
  • Cargo barriers or nets can be fitted into vehicles to act as a barrier between the passengers and the cargo that might be transported in the back of the car. These barriers can also prevent the roof from collapsing in the event of the vehicle rolling.

The dreadful feeling of driving past a car accident can often lead us to wonder whether we are safe in our vehicles.  In the end it all comes down to which type of car you prefer to drive and therefore the onus is on you to drive to drive responsibly to ensure your safety and that of your passengers.

Another thing you need to be aware of is that you cannot control your fellow drivers and their erratic behaviour on the road, which is why it is important for you to invest in a reliable car insurance policy.

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