Car safety features: What makes a car safe?

Last updated on 11 May, 2023 
Car safety is an important consideration for all motorists. From seatbelts to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), car safety features have evolved a lot over the years. According to the National Road Safety Strategy, older vehicles, without these new features, are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and provide less protection.

We explore the key features that make a car safe and explain how car safety features can affect your comprehensive car insurance.
When it comes to car safety, there are a number of important features to consider. They include:
A familiar safety feature, seatbelts are legally required in all vehicles in Australia. Whether you’re the driver or a passenger, they’re designed to keep you securely within your seat if there’s a collision. Seatbelts help to spread the force of impact across stronger parts of the body to reduce the risk of injury.
Designed to provide protection at the point of impact in a collision, airbags are also a legal requirement within Australia. They can reduce your risk of serious injury, by inflating to cushion your body from the full impact of a crash. A front seat passenger is usually also protected by an airbag.
Anti-lock brakes are designed to prevent wheels from locking up during heavy braking. This helps you maintain control of your car and, ideally, avoid an accident. Widely available as an optional safety feature, ABS aren’t legally required in Australia.
Another optional safety feature, electronic stability control can help you maintain control of your car in adverse conditions, such as wet roads. This feature automatically applies the brakes to individual wheels to keep the vehicle on its intended path.
Advanced driver assistance systems include features such as lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking to help you avoid car accidents. This is an optional safety feature for vehicles in Australia.
A blind spot is an area that you can’t see properly, even by using your rear view and side view mirrors. BSM uses sensors to detect vehicles and provides an alert if there’s a potential hazard. This is an optional feature.

As the name suggests, rear view cameras can help you to see objects or people that may be behind your car. This can improve safety when you’re reversing and parking. They’re also an optional safety feature.

When you’re choosing a car and insuring it, it’s important to understand that the car’s safety features can have a significant impact on your overall costs.

Innovations in car safety have made our cars smarter and safer. Unfortunately, due to the complexity and time involved in fixing them, these features can also increase car repair costs. If damaged in an accident, modern car safety features, such as ADAS, can be a lot more costly to repair than more traditional safety features, such as seatbelts.

We took a closer look at how new tech can increase repair costs, and found a range of contributing factors. For example, the need for specialised mechanics who understand these new technologies. Even minor damage can require major repairs to make sure these systems are properly calibrated and safe to use.

These additional costs are important to factor in when choosing your comprehensive car insurance cover, as they can have an impact on your insurance premium. Your car may not have these innovative safety features, but if you’re involved in a collision you may be responsible for covering the cost of repairs to a vehicle that does.

While there’s no doubt the evolution of car safety technology offers important benefits to your safety as a driver or passenger, these advancements also come with increased costs.

When choosing a car, consider the safety features that are important to you. When choosing car insurance, make sure you factor in the impact of car safety features on your premium.

This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 (“Allianz”). In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way. 

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