One of the things that drivers tend to worry about most is whether or not they and their passengers will be safe in a collision, and safety features are often a big factor in choosing a car. As a new driver, you may feel that you are more likely than most to be in an accident, and so you might be even more interested in picking a car with good safety features and a positive safety rating. Of course, the more hi-tech safety features like anti-lock braking and all wheel drive don’t always come on older or cheaper cars of the sort you may be considering for your first car, but here are some more common and basic safety features that can be a huge help in keeping you safe in an accident.
Some cars come with so many air bags that in the event of a collision, they can end up looking like a bouncy castle on the inside. While this is all well and good, on a cheaper or older car you are likely to find more conservative use of air bags. Air bags deploy to stop you or your passengers from hitting hard surfaces, softening your impact against things that will injure you. Steering wheel air bags are the most common, because the driver hitting the wheel is one of the most dangerous kinds of impact in a collision. A lot of cars also have passenger side air bags, and side air bags that can stop you hitting the doors or and objects that crash into the side of the car.
Head restraints extend from the car seats to limit the movement of the head in the event of a crash. This can prevent things like whiplash and other serious injuries to the neck or head. Cars by law should have these on both front seats, but they don’t have to have them on the back seats. If you are likely to have people in the back of your car who would be tall enough that their head would be unsupported without a head restraint in a crash, for example teenagers or other adults, then you may want to look for a car that has head restraints on the back, or fit these yourself as an aftermarket add on.
Head protection in the roof of the car can stop serious head injuries by cushioning the impact of the heads of drivers and passengers against the ceiling of the car. You usually can’t see this safety feature as it is concealed by the upholstery above you in the car, but you should make sure that your car has this.
These safety features, plus the more obvious ones like seat belts and child seats, can literally make the difference between life and death, and can also prevent long term, painful injuries. Making sure your first car has as many good safety features as possible can help protect you and also give you greater confidence when you are starting out as a new driver.