Posted by: jdavis | May 13, 2008


Every time I watch news, I can not help but notice motorists and pedestrians losing their lives and vehicles getting wrecked because of the numerous car accidents happening nowadays. The increasing number of vehicles on the road has almost become tantamount to the number of accidents. It is very disheartening to know and see that more than the property; it is the human race which suffers from this suppose to be great alley for achieving the mobility we need in order to get along with the fast phased world that we are leaving into.


Safety is a major concern among car manufacturers and consumers these days. A lot of time has been spent into enhancing the safety features of the car, the interior and exterior alike. I believe beyond the car’s aesthetics, people are more interested as to how safe the vehicle is. With the alarming growing number of accidents which happens on the road everyday, it is but proper to give extra attention in the car’s safety features enhancement.


Recently, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has chosen the cars which gives superb performance in terms of safety. A commendable number of cars were included in the list. Among the 34, 11 new cars were added which includes 3 from Honda, 2 from Toyota and 2 from BMW. So, how did these vehicles pas the test? What must it possess in order to be counted as Top Safety Pick?


Qualifying as a Top safety Pick means that the vehicle has surpassed the tests given by the IIHS. It is tested for rear, frontal and side impacts. As regards to the frontal, rear and side impacts test, here is a quick way on how to understand it. Frontal crash tests are done with a barrier at 40 mph. The experts then make an assessment based on the injuries of the dummies inside the vehicle. Side-impact tests are done using the vehicle and a barrier at 31mph. Once again, the assessment is done based on the injuries to the dummy inside the vehicle. Finally the rear test uses a barrier at 20 mph. Dummies are carefully checked for neck, head and legs strain. The vehicles which made it to the list are well equipped with either of the following: side airbags, front and rear curtain airbags, torso bags and front and rear-mounted torso airbags.


The vehicle must also have an ESC (Electronic Stability Control) which is proven to lessen the chance of getting the vehicle into a crash. While vehicles are coming up with features that will best safeguard the occupants during collisions, ESC might as well prevent such crashes from happening. This was affirmed by the IIHS president, Adrian Lund. The ESC is a quite complex system which allows the driver to sustain control of the brakes and traction control electronics. This system is capable of interfering when a suspected slip or twist occurs thus, preventing possible danger from happening.


As regards to the size and affordability, there is a misconception that bigger cars are safer. Audi A3 and Saab 9-3 are not big yet belong to the Top Pick. The affordable cars from Ford such as the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX also made it. This only give way to the implication that cars are becoming safer now and it is not something that is being offered by expensive and big cars alone.


This significant milestone in the car industry is indeed remarkable. However, it must be remembered at all times that safety does not depend on the features of the car alone but on the driver himself. No amount of safety feature can be equal to the safety precautions and responsibility the car owner brings with him while traversing the road. Advance technology may have led to the creation of vehicles equipped with maximum safety and can be manipulated by computers but in the end the truth remains…man is still in control of his car.


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