Get the Most from Automotive Safety Systems

The supplemental inflatable restraints paired with seatbelts are considered the most important installed safety accessories on the automobile. However, they are far from the only ones designed into modern passenger cars and trucks. Learning how airbags work and how to decipher the inflatable restraint readiness light are high on the list of things all owners should learn about. Also on this list are things like rollover protection, crumple zones and headrests that help prevent some of the most common injuries like whiplash. Understanding everything your automobile has to offer, allows you take advantage of these safety features.

Head Rest Technology

Crash related injury studies show a large percentage of injuries are considered soft tissue damage around the head and neck area, which is commonly called whiplash. The head rest is referred to by automotive manufacturers as a head restraint because it limits the undesired movement of the head during an accident. This makes the adjustment related to the position of the head an extremely important factor during a crash event. Properly adjusted head rests will prevent the head from traveling far out of line with the neck in rear collisions.

It is estimated, nearly 90 percent of all passengers in an automobile do not take the time to adjust the head rest for height and comfort. It should be positioned at a height where the top of the ear is equal with the top of the head rest. In order to take advantage of head restraints in a rear end collision, it’s recommended that no more than four or 5 inches of space exist between the back of the head and the rest itself. In response to the low amount of people that adjust the position, manufacturers are rolling out automatic systems that self adjust when the seat belt is latched.

Crumple Zone Technology

Automobiles that offer superior protection in high speed collisions are able to maintain the integrity of the passenger cabin on impact. A Common method used is to absorb and gradually slow down the energy between the impact area and the passenger compartment. Crumple zones are sections of the frame, body and engine compartment that will bend, crumple, or break away. This type of action, allows the crumple zone to absorb the forces involved with the impact and help in keeping them separate from the passenger compartment.

Rollover Protection

Unfortunately, a vehicle rollover can be common in a high-speed accident when drivers take extreme measures to avoid an impact. In older vehicles rollover protection was mostly included on convertible models that provided a bar to protect the passengers in case it wound up on its roof. Obviously a soft convertible top would not be enough protection in this type of situation.

Therefore a roll bar is a permanent overhead structure of a soft top vehicle. These are also provided on automobiles that don’t have strong roof structures, as with panoramic sunroofs or T tops. Some of the latest automotive safety technologies being developed are roll bars that deploy behind the head rest when the vehicle is sensed at extreme angles or loses contact with the ground.

Side Impact Protection

Side impacts can be the most dangerous and the hardest to protect against. This is due to the impact being much closer to the passengers than if it occurred at the front or rear. The two most popular technologies deployed to protect against this kind of impact would be side airbags and steel I-beams installed in the doors or side body panels.

Manufacturers provide different types of inflatable restraint protection, but two of the most popular are side curtain airbags that deploy from the roof line or the seat mounted side airbag that deploys from the seat itself. In both cases, these bags are fully inflated within milliseconds of impact because of the close proximity of the collision to the passengers.

Vehicles that save lives by providing cutting-edge safety technology go a long way in securing lifelong customers for the brand. It’s good for business to protect drivers and passengers. It’s also a good reason for manufacturers to include these high-tech safety items into every automobile built regardless of its price tag.

Cars from the 70s used weight and strength to provide protection to the occupants. Modern automobiles use technology like crumple zones and inflatable restraints to provide the same level of protection if not better. Although the car might not be repairable, after a major accident, drivers and passengers have increased chances of escaping without injury, despite the lack of a full steal frame or 4000 pound car surrounding them.