What Actually Makes a Vehicle Safe?
No matter what type of car, truck, or SUV you drive, the word “safety” probably conjures a few words and images in your mind; airbags, seat belts, safety ratings. But what actually makes a vehicle safe? Here are some of the biggest factors in determining vehicle safety, from The Brake Shop in Mesa, AZ.
What Makes Up a Structurally Safe Vehicle? - The way the vehicle is built has a lot to do with how safe it is. Whether a vehicle is structurally safe depends on several components - crumple zones, roof rigidity in the event of a rollover, and side-impact resilience, to name a few. The engineering behind a vehicle’s architecture is a complex task - it needs to be optimally functional, but also as safe as possible. And the only real way to test the structural abilities of a vehicle is to crash it into something. You actually want the car to crumble and collapse in certain places. Old cars were built like tanks - you probably remember or have seen pictures of low-speed accidents with vintage cars and thought, “they don’t make them like they used to.” However, the cab of the vehicle, where the passengers sit, is extremely durable in newer model cars. Everything around them accumulates damage, cushioning the blow in the event of an accident, and directing the force away from the people inside. Old cars held up well in low-speed collisions - but at high speeds, a late model car is so much better at keeping the occupants safe, it’s not even a contest.
How Does Weight Affect Vehicle Safety? - Weight places a huge factor in the safety of a vehicle. While it still needs to have a good crash test rating, as a general rule, the heavier the better. It’s a matter of simple physics - the bigger a vehicle is, the better it is at withstanding a collision, especially if whatever it collides with is smaller than it. There’s an argument to be made that heavy vehicles don’t handle as well or stop as fast, but these days stopping and handling capabilities on even the largest vehicles are far superior to cars of even a few years ago.
How Does The Center of Gravity Impact a Vehicle? - The center of gravity is important for a couple of reasons. Cars with a low center of gravity are easier to control and more responsive to sudden steering input. More importantly, they don’t roll over as easily. While it’s nearly impossible to roll something like a Corvette, a well-placed curb in a parking lot is enough to topple a Wrangler if the angle is just right. SUVs offer better rollover protection as far as roof strength, but that’s because they’re more likely to need it.
What Makes a Vehicle Safe? - Safety equipment used to mean optional seat belts and then later, airbags were added. Now, the list goes on and on - traction control, anti-lock brakes, lane monitoring, auto-braking, lane correction, and even autopilot are all safety features that modern cars are incorporating. As a result, accident injuries are at an all-time low. Maintenance Maintenance is hugely important to the safety of your vehicle. All those safety features only work if your car is in good condition and operating as designed. If your brakes are in bad shape or there are malfunctions, the anti-lock braking system won’t function as it should. If ball joints, tie rods, and other suspension components aren’t in good shape, there’s a risk of losing control of the vehicle. Properly working headlights, good windshield wipers, healthy tires - all of these things play an important role in keeping your car safely on the road.
If you're concerned about the safety of your vehicle or want to give its safety devices a check-up, stop by our shop today. Our technicians want to be sure that you and your family are all safe in your vehicle. For the best auto service shop in Mesa, AZ, call or stop by The Brake Shop today.
Thank you for visiting The Brake Shop Total Car Care in Mesa, AZ. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.