Most Essential Safety Systems in Cars

If you grew up in the 1980s, you probably remember pulling into gas stations to see leaded fuel for sale. When you rode in an older car, seatbelts were often considered optional. Did you take an unrestrained nap in those bench seats?

Over the years, automakers have developed more safety features than ever to transform our driving experiences. Although there is still some risk we assume when getting behind the wheel, the chances of walking away from an accident are better with these essential systems.

1. Airbags

Front airbags became an essential safety feature in all new cars starting in 1998. Light trucks received the update in 1999. Although most vehicles had them already, the upgrade with the onboard computer sensing an impact has saved thousands of lives. You’ll need to remember to wear a seatbelt to avoid an injury when it deploys.

2. Antilock Brakes

ABS systems made it much easier to get your vehicle to slow down quickly during a hard brake. Instead of locking things to put you into a skid, you receive an automatic pulsating rhythm that maximizes the result without losing steering control.

3. Traction Control

This safety system automatically limits how much wheel spin occurs when you accelerate. It allows for maximum traction, especially in icy or wet conditions. Some vehicles have this feature operate at slow speeds only.

4. Electronic Stability Control

This feature takes traction safety to another level, ensuring that a vehicle stays on its path while making a turn. The onboard computer uses sensors to detect multiple data points to momentarily brake a single wheel or more to pull the car back to where it needs to be. It became standard in 2012.

5. Automatic Detection

Modern safety features can detect everything from pedestrians to stopped vehicles to apply a stopping result. These options help you see what could be lurking in your blind spot to keep everyone safer along the road.

Some safety features aren’t available on some vehicles’ base models if the government doesn’t require them to be standard. That’s why you should always ask about what is available before signing the dotted line.