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Shopping for a new car can prove to be a daunting task. You’ve researched and found the perfect vehicle for you and your family, and you are prepared to go to the dealership and get the best deal for your chosen model. However, you may have forgotten to check one of the most important considerations for any vehicle: car safety features.

However, safety was an area that was frequently glanced over in the past. For years, automakers vehemently opposed public safety feature promotion. For instance, seat belts were invented in the 1930s but weren’t widely used until the early 1960s. Automakers resisted including them out of concern that adding seat belts would indicate that the car isn’t safe on its own.

Nowadays, safety features are promoted and can be a deciding factor for many consumers. In this article, we’ll go over five safety features that no modern car should be without.

1. Airbags

Airbags were mandated in 1999 for all passenger cars, trucks, and vans. In these modern times, most new cars and SUVs offer a minimum of six airbags. However, some car manufacturers are over-achievers. For instance, drivers of the Toyota Camry get 10 airbags.

Eastern Automotive Group points out that modern cars now come with curtain airbags that deploy from above the windows to prevent drivers and their passengers from hitting their heads or being ejected through the windows.

2. Antilock brakes

Antilock brakes were mandated in the year 2000 for all passenger vehicles. Sensors placed in each wheel act as monitors that report grip, speed, and other performance factors to your car’s computer. The sensor communicates with and controls the brakes on each wheel. In essence, it keeps the wheels from locking up and skidding. 

3. Driver assistance

Driver-assist feature buttons for electronic stability control, emergency braking, and lane keeping assist
Driver-assist feature buttons | Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Driver assistance features have grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade. Numerous assistance functions, such as blind-spot detection, automatic emergency braking, frontal collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning, help drivers operate their vehicles safely. These innovative safety features have saved countless lives since they have been in use. They improve a vehicle’s accident-avoidance rating by preventing some incidents that could be brought on by driver distraction or delayed reflexes.

4. Electronic stability control

Electronic stability control was mandated in 2012 for all passenger vehicles. It works in tandem with the antilock braking system sensors to keep the car going in whatever direction you are steering. However, it also uses other sensors to measure steering angle and sideways motion. For example, suppose your car isn’t heading in the same direction your front wheels are pointed. The stability control will use your car’s sensors to correct this situation, including applying the brake to a specific wheel or even adjusting the engine speed.

5. Rearview cameras

Rearview cameras were mandated in 2018 for all new passenger cars, trucks, and vans. Located on the rear of the vehicle, these cameras give the driver a near 360 view of the vehicle when used in parallel with rear and side view mirrors. 

Additionally, most rearview displays show parallel guidelines to let you know where your vehicle is in relation to parking lines, obstacles, and pedestrians. More advanced versions of this display also provide bending guideline visuals to help you determine your vehicle’s path as you are backing up. 

Most cars these days include these safety features and much more. Modern car manufacturers compete with each other by offering as many safety features as they can possibly include on their vehicles. It’s hard to imagine there was ever a time in the past when safety features such as seat belts were omitted simply because it wasn’t a good image. 

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