Posts Tagged ‘car safety car’
New car safety ratings are one of the most important considerations you should never overlook when buying a new or used vehicle. Safety has become more important to everyone in recent years; let’s face it we spend a lot of time in our cars and with our families so car safety should outrank any cosmetic preferences. Now there are very specific government and auto industry standards to keep you and your family safe so let’s take a look at what to look for.
One of the best car safety indicators of overall safety is the government crash test rating. All new vehicles will have these ratings readily available and it is a great place to begin understanding what you new car safety rating is. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA which you can find at nhtsa.dot.gov is your first stop. The NHTSA uses two methods of crash testing in determining the safety of the vehicle, full frontal impact and side impact. The NHTSA uses a five star rating scale, the higher the number of stars the safer the vehicle is, the lower the number of stars the more dangerous the vehicle. You can find an outline of these car safety ratings and grades at safercars.gov.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is another great resource to help with learning about your car safety rating as well. The IIHS is a research group which conducts crash tests as well but more for the insurance industry. The one important difference about their frontal crash testing is that they use a more realistic offset testing method. Instead of crashing head on, which is extremely rare in frontal accidents, the crash test runs the vehicle into a deformable barrier meant to simulate another vehicle moving at 40 M.P.H. and the barrier only covering the portion of the vehicle in front of the driver. Most head on accidents are usually offset somewhat which usually results in worse damage due to torque and structural weakness. The IISH car safety tests cover this and help us understand the reality of a true head on collision. The IISH scores or ratings in their tests are rated by Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor.
Now that you have a better idea of what your car safety rating is, you will also want to know what type of air bag system the vehicle has. All new vehicles are only mandated by law to have dual front airbags but many manufacturers realizing the important of safety have begun to offer side and rear airbags as well which is even more important in multi passenger vehicles like vans and SUVs. The side curtain airbags that drop down from the headliner offer greater head protection from the side and are highly recommended. Some vehicles now even have weight sensors as well that disable the airbag if a person below a certain weight is sitting there. This improvement came about from the first airbags that injured shorter people in the front seat due to headshots and airbag release pressure. You will start to see these improved safety sensors more and more from new vehicles.
Another very important consideration is the rollover rate of the vehicle as well. Vehicles with a higher profile are more likely to turn over. SUVs are up to three times more likely to roll over than passenger vehicles. The majority of all SUV fatalities have been due to rollover. Most SUVs come with options of 4 Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive giving owners a false sense of security. Drivers of these vehicles think that because they have these options are invincible and push the envelope then expect the vehicle to perform whatever situations drivers put them in. Unfortunately, although they might have better traction in adverse weather and road conditions, these vehicles have more of a possibility of tipping when sharp cornering is attempted.
Antilock brakes have been around awhile and are a proven safety device, which is why insurance companies give you a discount if your vehicle has them; we highly recommended that you buy a vehicle with ABS. Although many who use ABS the first time hate the feeling of not stopping like they used to, ABS does prevent the wheels from locking up during a hard stop, something that can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. ABS almost always provides shorter stops, but, even more importantly, the system helps keep the vehicle straight and allows the driver to maneuver during a panic stop.
Obviously child safety is what most of us really care about first off and for good reason. If you do have infants always make sure you look for a new technology called LATCH which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. This universal system was designed to make it easier and safer to attach car seats due to the fact that many car seats are incompatible with the vehicle’s safety belts. You’ll also find more and more automobile manufacturers are adding build in car seats to ensure even more safety for our children which you might see this prominently in Mini Vans right now.
One more thing I’d like to touch on is the power features in a car. You should be sure that if the vehicle has power windows and door locks, which is basically a standard feature on most models now, it also has disabling locks that you can control to keep children from accidentally opening doors and windows and creating unwanted chances for injury.
As you can see there are many issues when discussing new car safety and these are just a few of the main safety features to look for. There are many other Consumer Reports and car safety reviews that provide even more information and provide good source for comprehensive car safety information.
There has been much speculation as to whether or not airbags are safe for children and adults. Back when airbags first came out, people were afraid to buy cars that had them. I can still remember when my dad brought home our first car that had an airbag in it. Together, I walked outside with my mom and dad and observed as my father instructed my mom on how to drive the car. This particular car had a bunch of other neat features back then as well- and the airbag was one of them. As he explained how the airbag was sensitive to braking short as well as what would happen if she were to get into a fender bender, I could see my mother growing increasingly apprehensive. At the end of the conversation, my dad asked my mom if she wanted to take the car out for a spin to which she politely declined.
My mom’s fears back then weren’t all that unrealistic. There are, after all, some hidden dangers in airbags. While they are supposed to provide safety to passengers in a vehicular accident, they can also cause additional injuries. For instance, many people are aware that when airbags deploy, the intensity at which they deploy can actually knock the wind out of someone. There are numerous reports of people who get into accidents where the airbag is deployed, but the force of the airbag hitting their face and/or chest area actually causes them to break their noses or to break their ribs. And in some instances, if there happens to be a child sitting in the front seat or in the path of an airbag, airbag deployment may actually kill the child.
The best defense to airbags and car safety is to never have to use them. What do I mean by this? Be aware of your driving, and exercise good judgment so that you never get into a car accident. Most, if not all, car accidents are 100 percent avoidable because most are caused by an error in the driver’s judgment. Only a small percentage of car accidents are caused by mechanical failures of some sort. This is why you need to be cautious when you are driving. Look around you, use your turn signals before changing lanes. Avoid sudden breaking, and allow plenty of stopping room between you and the next person in front of you. All of these things and more will not only make you a better driver; it will save you the trouble of having to use your airbags in the event of car accident.
If you’re in the auto repair or dismantling business and haven’t been paying too much attention to how you handle and dispose of airbag components, then now is a good time to start because changes are on the way. The problem is that the technology simply got ahead of regulatory agencies but take note that they are all catching up quickly.
The problem is that airbags are both an explosive device and hazardous waste all wrapped up into one package. It’s the chemical that’s inside of the airbags that’s the problem. It’s a known carcinogen that also explodes when activated and the problem is only going to get worse as airbags become mandatory and find their way into more areas of a vehicle.
Most of the confusion surrounding the handling and disposal of used Airbags is in the US where that EPA has decided to completely sidestep the issue all together and let states and local governments handle the regulation of these devices. The result is that there is no one set standard nationwide, so rules can and do vary from state to state. Also in some areas, local municipalities are weighing in with their own regulations.
Most all states do agree however, that an airbag once deployed is no longer hazardous waste. This is because once it’s set off, the chemical contained in it is neutralized and of course at the same time it is also rendered non explosive. This in turn has led many businesses to simply activate their airbags on site, thus rendering them acceptable by local landfills.
While on the surface this does sound like a perfectly sensible solution, in all actuality it’s not as simple as it seems. This is because how and where airbags can be activated at a business is also beginning to fall under regulation. Even OSHA is beginning to play catch up on how workers should be safely setting off these explosive devices. Remember that they are a powerful explosive device.
Should they be required to undergo some type of training and if so what should that training be. Then there are the onsite storage issues that have to be taken into account. Right now you are free to store them how and where you please but you can bet that is going to change. If you have a safe and secure location, just how safe and secure is it and what about worker safety and your own liability?
So it’s no small surprise that out of all this cloud of confusion and post regulatory anxiety has emerged a solution in the form of airbag disposal services that simply come and pick them up at your business and take the whole mess off your hands. Not only does it take away the problem of the airbags themselves but also the hassle of monitoring state and local regulations to remain compliant.