Safety information

Auto Safety Facts

That can save your life or the lives of your children

Seat belts

Always wear your seat belt and shoulder harness when riding in a vehicle. The safest place for you in a crash is sitting securely in your seat. Many fatal crashes occur at relatively low speeds and you double the chances you will survive a crash by wearing your belts.
Your best bet in reducing your risk of a fatal crash is your
seat belt. Here are the facts:

Safety device

Effectiveness

Airbags alone

12%

Seat belt alone

42%

Airbag + seat belt

47%

In most cases, in a frontal crash with restraints you will stay safely in your seat and away from the car’s interior parts.

In a frontal crash without restraints as your car stops abruptly, your body will keep moving forward at collision speed.

Many people mistakenly believe that they can brace against the steering wheel and avoid serious injury in a frontal type crash. However, even at only 25 mph, an unrestrained driver
can strike the steering wheel with the same force as falling seat from a 3rd floor balcony.

  1. The belt should cross your shoulder and rest on your hips and pelvis.

  2. Pregnant women should place restraint belts over and under the abdomen.

Without seat belts

25 mph is the speed at which you would strike the ground after falling
from a 3rd floor balcony.

Child Restraint Systems (CRS)

Did you know that, tragically, more than 40% of children who die in car crashes are unbelted? Always be sure children are properly protected when riding in a moving motor vehicle under your control. It’s the law.

In most cases, child restraint systems (CRS) provide more safety than your car’s standard seats. But, research shows that most parents either don’t use them at all or don’t use CRS properly. For more information about CRS or other safety issues, please check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website at www.nhtsa.gov. It’s also a good idea to check your car’s owner’s manual for specific recommendations before shopping for a CRS. Note: Some cars made before 1996 have the wrong kind of belt anchors for typical CRS systems, but Ford, GM, Honda, and Nissan make replacement parts to upgrade for newer CRS compatibility. Check with your dealer.

All children under 12 years of age should ride in the bac seat when possible. Carefully install the CRS using both the seat and vehicle instruction manuals. You can have you
seat installation checked at local child safety seat check points. Visit www.nhtsa.gov or your local law enforcement office for assistance.

Rear-facing Seat(infant)

Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing seats until the age of 2 or until they reach the height and weight limits of the rear-facing seat.

Note that height and weight limitations of CRS vary by manufacturer

Forward-facing Seat

Children older than 2 exceeded the height and weight limits of their rear facing seat.

Booster Seat

Kids who have outgrown the height ear- forward-facing seats. Kids should facing seat stay in the booster until they reach of height of about 4 ft 9 in and are 8-12 years of age.

Airbags

Airbags are a supplemental restraint system (SRS). They are designed to work in conjunction with your seat www.nhtsa.gov. belts and shoulder harnesses, not instead of them. Many people mistakenly believe that because airbags are “newer technology,” they must be more effective than seat belts and shoulder harnesses. However, by themselves, airbags provide less protection than the seat belts and shoulder harnesses do by themselves. Used together, they offer the most protection in a crash.

Airbags can also cause injuries. Some bags come out at speeds of up to 200 mph. Under normal  conditions, the airbag is the fully inflated just before the cover occupants contacts it.

In the event of a crash, it is also important to keep your hands away from airbag module to avoid injury.

The airbag is fully deployed before the test driver strikes it.

Special risk occupants A smaller person, whose sternum is within 10″ or less of the steering wheel, is at risk of being struck by the deploying airbag. Injuries can be serious or even fatal. Some cars have adjustable brake and accelerator pedals to allow shorter drivers to adjust their seats farther back.

Beware Airbags are very expensive to replace, and a large black market of stolen airbags has developed Unscrupulous repair centers may replace airbags with stolen airbags which may be damaged or designed for a different make and model of car. Unscrupulous dealers have been known to sell used cars in which the airbags have been removed.

Head Restraints

Each year nearly 3 million people suffer a whiplash injury. About half are left with some chronic problems and about 10% become permanently disabled. Only 25% of us correctly adjust our head restraints. This is the single most important way to prevent whiplash injury position the head restraint as close to the head as possible. It should be level with the top of the head.

Whiplash injury

Good geometry

Poor geometry

What to do if you’re about to be hit from the rear:

  • Sit fully back against seat and head restraint.

  • Shrug shoulders firmly to limit neck motion.

  • Look straight ahead with head back slightly.

  • (If stopped already) apply brake firmly.

  • (If the driver) place hands flat against the steering

    wheel.

Head restraint effectiveness for most new cars is rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (www.ihs. org). Some cars are equipped with special anti-whiplash character head restraints.

Static and dynamic head restraint rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

How to choose a safe vehicle

Decide what type of vehicle you really need In general, larger cars are safer than smaller cars. When you crash into a car that is 50% heavier than yours, for example, your risk of dying in that crash is 3-5 times higher than the other driver’s.

SUVs have the advantage of size, but are top heavy and more prone to roll-over crashes. They also take longer to stop and are less able to avoid crashes in the first place, compared to passenger cars.

Pick-ups and large vans also have generally poor handling characteristics compared to passenger cars. Minivans offer reasonably good handling characteristics and fuel economy, and many have good crash ratings.

Consider safety systems that reduce the chances of a crash

  • Antilock brakes (ABS).

  • Electronic stability control (ESC or ESP).

  • All wheel drive.

  • Active cruise control.

  • Crash warning sensors.

  • High intensity output headlights.

Consider safety systems that improve crash-worthiness

  • Airbags: front, side, and side curtain

  • Anti-whiplash seats

Check the crash test results

NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) awards stars based on crash test performance from crashing into a rigid barrier at 35 mph (www.nhtsa.gov). They also conduct side impact and roll-over tests.

A 5 star rating indicates that the probability of a serious injury or death in a crash is 10% or less, 4 stars equates to risks of 11-20%; 3 stars equates to risks of 21-35%; 2 stars equates to risks of 35-45% risk: 1 star equates to a | risk of greater than 46%

Also realize that these ratings are valid only across a size classification. So a 5 star-rated larger car will still be generally safer than a 5 star-rated subcompact car. The IIHS also tests cars by crashing them into deformable barriers at 40 mph and posts the results on their website.

Some cars perform well in NCAP tests, but poorly in IIHS tests and vice versa. Others might have good frontal ratings but poor side ratings.