How Well Can Your Car Withstand Collision?


How safe is your car? Is it above average? Do you have any idea how well it can withstand collision? The answers to these queries are very important not just to car occupants but to automakers as well. Experts say showing consumers how a particular car performs in times of collision is an effective sales tactic.

At the much-concluded New York Auto Show held last week, one of the most controversial displays was a crumpled Ford Taurus. The display was the Dearborn automaker’s effort to show visitors how durable Ford parts are and how well Taurus withstands a collision.

Ford Motor Co.’s display created an ambiance that made consumers think more about their car safety especially in a crash. For some buffs, the automaker’s introduction of its innovative safety features is treated as a breath of fresh air.

Historically, automakers avoid any suggestion that vehicles actually collide and occupants could die in their cars. However, safety inside cars has become a hot issue in the past decades. This is why, at present, automakers are finding ways to offer the most effective auto features to ensure safety of car occupants.

Car safety has always been difficult to explain. It is also difficult to sell. And automakers have allowed unspoken white lies about safety to promote their cars. Wired News reported: “Drivers who ride high in a vehicle, for example, report feeling safer because they can see out over traffic. Yet a vehicle with a high center of gravity is more likely to roll. Large and heavy cars cocoon passengers in copious steel, protecting them in the event of a collision. Yet large and heavy vehicles are more likely to lose traction. They’re more likely to be involved in an accident in the first place.”

But misconceptions are slowly jettisoning consumers’ mind. Last year, Volkswagen AG ran the “Safe Happens” campaign to promote the Jetta and the Passat. The campaign effectively tickled consumer interest in VW.

SmartCar, moreover, used videos of the crash tests on the Internet even before the ForTwo was offered for sale in America. At the automaker’s press events, crumpled, rolled and battered vehicles were displayed. The move has pulled consumers closer to SmartCar.

Big names in auto safety such as Volvo Cars have also introduced features that provide protection to occupants in collisions. Features include crumple zones, seat belts, airbags, side impact protection, strong occupant compartment, and head rests. What’s more, car features that help avoid crashing such as electronic stability control (ESC), antilock braking systems (ABS), intelligent speed adaptation (ISA), traction control, and active braking systems were also installed in vehicles.

Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.

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