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Save with these six car safety features

February 18, 2009

Most current car models have built-in safety features, but do you know what they are or how they work? What’s more, did you know that driving a safer vehicle could mean lower insurance rates?

Safety features such as these can help lower your insurance rate — click here to see if you can save.

1. Laminated windshield: You don’t see it or probably even know it’s there, but lamination helps keep your windshield in one piece after an impact. This safety feature prevents shattered glass from entering the car interior while allowing you take advantage of minimal yet adequate transparency for control of the car immediately after a collision.

2. Airbags: Common in almost all cars, airbags inflate in order to cushion the impact your head and upper body take during a collision (duel airbags are also typical in many cars, for the passenger in the front seat), keeping you safe from various parts of your car’s interior.

3. Electronic stability control (ESC): ESC helps you control your car during high-speed turns or while driving on slippery surfaces. ESC works by expanding on the car’s anti-lock braking system, comparing your intended direction in steering and braking moves, helping improve the vehicle’s response to the situation. ESC is especially helpful in reducing the risk of rollover.

4. Anti-lock braking systems (ABS): Found in most newer models, ABS use electronic controls to help prevent your car’s wheels from locking up when you make a hard brake. ABS makes it easier for you to control your car on uneven and wet surfaces (think bad Canadian weather conditions!). ABS also lets you steer around an object you’re heading toward even when you have to hit your brakes hard.

5. Head restraints: Yes, your head restraint (the adjustable part of the seat your head sits against when you drive) is actually a safety feature! A majority of car accident injuries result in soft-tissue-related damage to the upper body. A good head restraint that is adjusted properly can help prevent injury. To make sure you’ve adjusted yours properly, 1. make sure it’s high enough (should be level with the top of your ear) and 2. get it close enough to the back of your head (less than 10 centimetres is ideal).

6. Crumple zones: These absorb and reduce the energy of a collision, displacing and diverting it away from the interior passenger compartment of your car and reducing the impact force for you and your passengers.