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Essential Car Safety Features For New Buyers In South Africa

Jun 11, 2024 | Uncategorised

Are you looking to buy a new car? Part of your search for the perfect car will no doubt include looking at things like fuel consumption, the colour, how many passengers the car can accommodate, creature comforts such as aircon, and car safety features. We would argue that this factor is the most important, especially in South Africa, where we have diverse road conditions and high accident rates.  

Seeing as it’s crucial to ensure that your car is equipped with the latest car safety features to protect you and your loved ones, let’s explore the essential car safety features that every new buyer should consider. 

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) 

It may seem like an obvious place to start, but because ABS is such a life-saving safety feature, it’s got to be top of our safety list. Essentially, ABS prevents your wheels from locking up during emergency braking situations by using sensors to monitor each wheel’s speed and automatically adjusting the braking pressure. This is what prevents skidding and maintains steering control. In a country like South Africa, where road conditions can vary greatly, ABS can be a lifesaver, helping you avoid accidents and maintain control of your vehicle. Luckily, anti-lock brakes were mandated by law for cars built after 2012, so chances are good that your car has them.

Crumple Zones 

Crumple zones are specially designed areas of a vehicle that are engineered to absorb the impact of a collision and protect the occupants. By the nature of the design, crumple zones should deform in a controlled manner which then reduces the force transmitted to the passenger compartment. Given what these zones are intended to do, they are typically located at the front and rear of the vehicle. When shopping for your new car, make sure to ask about the crumple zones. 

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) 

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is another essential safety feature that should be on your checklist. ESC is a system that monitors your vehicle’s stability and detects when it’s about to lose control, such as during a sudden turn or on slippery surfaces. When it senses a loss of control, the ESC system is meant to automatically apply individual wheel brakes and adjust engine power. This should keep your car on track and prevent skidding. 

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) 

ADAS are a comprehensive suite of technologies that rely on a combination of sensors, cameras, and radar to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings and assist you as the driver in various situations. These systems include features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. Generally speaking, ADAS can provide an extra layer of safety and convenience, and we would argue that this is especially necessary for new drivers who are still getting used to South African roads. 

Child Car Safety Features 

If you have children or plan to transport children in your vehicle, you should absolutely look for safety features specifically designed for child safety. The most common would be ISOFIX child seat anchors, which provide a secure and standardised way to attach infant and older children car seats. Additionally, you should consider vehicles with rear parking sensors or cameras to help you manoeuvre safely in tight spaces and avoid accidents involving children. 

Seatbelts And Airbags 

This tip is aimed more at those on a very tight budget who are looking at older, second-hand models. You might not be able to find an older car with all the latest safety features, but the car you choose should definitely come fitted with seatbelts that are in a good condition, which play a vital role in protecting you and your passengers in the event of a collision. Look for vehicles with three-point seatbelts, which distribute the force of impact across the strongest parts of your body. 

Another feature that should be a deal-breaker are airbags, which are a crucial safety feature that can significantly reduce the risk of serious injuries in the event of a collision. Look for vehicles with multiple airbags, including driver and passenger airbags, as well as side airbags for added protection.  

Feeling Informed? 

By choosing a vehicle equipped with the essential safety features mentioned above, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re driving a safer car and contributing to a safer road environment for everyone. 

While you’re on your search, consider using our Car Affordability Calculator. It’s important to know how much you can afford and this calculator will get you an estimate of what you can afford. And don’t forget to get a free car valuation report to make sure you know the car’s worth.

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