Sunday, January 16, 2011

Safety Features on Vehicles

Last Friday I asked for your input on Twitter and Facebook the following question.

In total there were 21 different responses.  That’s amazing.  What is even more amazing is that the vast majority of the safety features that you brought up have been added to vehicle design in the last generation or so.

When I look at the list that you put together it has become clear that the changes to the design of vehicles have come at a heavy price…the multiple deaths of people both inside and outside the vehicle.

It has been because of those deaths that many of the advancements in vehicle design have come to be.

Here is the complete list:
Collision detection radar
Anti lock brakes
Electronic stability control / traction control
Dynamic head restraints
Crumple zones
Energy absorbing materials
Child safety seats
Side impact beams
Back up sensors
Child locks

The number one answer given was seatbelts followed in order by, airbags, brakes, headlights and tires.

I’m going to focus on a few of the items that you are in complete control of.  You can’t do much about crumple zones, side impact beams or energy absorbing materials.  For those, we should thank the manufacturers for placing those items into the design of vehicles

Seatbelts – 1976 it became mandatory for the use of seatbelts.  Since that time deaths have been decreasing. There is no arguing their importance.  Still some people don’t wear them.

Anti-lock brakes / Brakes – These are a given.  But so many people rely on them alone for getting them out of trouble.  Proper following distance will extend the life of your brakes.

Lights / Signals– Daytime running lights were a great addition to the safety features of lighting. Most systems only turn on the headlights though and don’t activate the taillights in inclement weather conditions.  Make sure you flip your entire system on for best visibility.  Signaling (including the horn) is the only way you can communicate with the outside word of what your intentions are.  We get along on the roads so much better when we all know what is going on with each other.

Tires – Most people have no idea how small the area of contact is that attaches your vehicle to the road.  Making sure that your tires are in great condition, at the proper pressure and have adequate tread depth is so important.

Everything in the list that you all added are all great safety features.  Here is the last one that I will talk about…the driver.

A few of you mentioned the driver as a present safety feature.  In my humble opinion, this is the most important safety feature.  It doesn’t matter what safety equipment you have.  How much your car cost or how incredible the features are.

The driver’s attitude, behaviour and ability are truly what makes the difference in terms of road safety.   Great drivers obey the laws, drive within the limits of the road, the vehicle and the equipment.  Great drivers respect other road users.  Give me a great driver with ‘bad’ equipment any day over a bad driver with the best equipment.  Great drivers understand that even with their own great abilities, other drivers don’t share the same skill so they are ready for the errors of others.

Thank you all for your input into this list.  Use all your safety equipment available.  Drive within the limits of conditions (road, weather and ability) and be a great road user.


  1. How about the driver? That should have been the number 1 answer. The most important safety feature in all vehicles is the driver! But what do I know, eh?

  2. Hey C.J.
    I think you may have missed the last four paragraphs of the post. :)

  3. oY... that was a bad day. My bad.