Understand car safety from a real perspective


Designing a vehicle is not just about having a great concept. If we think about it, the purpose of every car that rolls off the production line has nothing to do with the prestige or stature of its owner. It is secondary and a by-product. The basic reason for every vehicle’s existence is to move people around and take them somewhere else. That’s probably why, more than aesthetic design, extensive research and development goes into the characteristics that make a car safe – for the driver, the passengers and even the external factors it may possibly encounter on the road. With this basic idea in mind, it makes sense that most, if not all, automakers place great importance on subjecting each of their models to rigorous testing that sets the benchmark for vehicle safety and of the road.

One such organization that is often mentioned and quoted is the Global New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), which serves as a platform for the assessment of new cars around the world and promotes the universal adoption of most important motor vehicle safety standards, in accordance with the United Nations. The organization extends to several regional NCAP programs that cover the different major regions of the world: Europe, ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Latin America and the United States.

Toyota Camry front, side and curtain airbags

Every brand, from the Toyotas and Hondas of the world, to the coveted Tesla, undergoes the same review that assesses the effectiveness of the vehicle’s built-in safety features, based on the protection they provide to the following areas: Protection occupant protection, Child occupant protection, Pedestrian protection (including cyclists and so-called vulnerable road users) and Safety Assist, which concern the technologies present in terms of driving assistance and collision avoidance.

Why go through all the time and investment? Because ultimately what can make or break a sale is how securely the vehicle can hold its passengers when driven from the showroom and placed into an unpredictable, real-life road environment. . Also, let’s face it, consumers trust products that have been put to the test (the more extensive and rigorous, the better) and wear a badge of global standards. That being said, and using the Global NCAP standards as its backbone, motor vehicle safety takes into account everything that has to do with road safety, including external factors, such as pedestrians and cyclists. Contrary to popular belief, safety technologies do not only concern the people inside the cabin. He takes the situation around the vehicle seriously.

Nissan 360 Security Shield

Crash tests (or what impact your car can take and how it reacts)

One of the safety measures are “crash tests”, which are essentially a series of real-life simulated tests that mimic the actual impact on the vehicle, in the case of road accidents. These tests are designed to verify the impact that the very structure of the vehicle can sustain, from all sides, in the worst case.

In addition, it measures the response of safety devices installed inside the cabin. We talk about how seat belts hold passengers in place, how quickly airbags deploy and in which direction, how far crumple zones travel to reduce driver and passenger leg injuries before, and more. There is simply more structure than stiffness and it can mean the difference between life and death.

In the case of Global NCAP, the assessment includes frontal impact, side impact (side collisions), rear impact and, in recent years, rescue and extrication. The first two account for more fatalities and serious injuries than most accidents. Rear-end crashes, on the other hand, are the leading cause of neck injuries and whiplash injuries. The final test has more to do with post-crash rescue. While crash protection relates to a vehicle’s crumple zones, NCAP places particular emphasis on how quickly a crash victim can be safely removed. It has to do with airbag placement, door opening forces, automatic unlocking and how easily the seat belts can be unlocked.

Subaru Eyesight camera

Child Protection Features

Most crash tests focus primarily on adult-sized passengers. Children are another story. Smaller in size, they fall in between, making it difficult to “keep them in place” with standard size seat belts. That’s why an important part of safety ratings is the range of provisions to accommodate child restraint accessories, such as ISOFIX anchorages found in most vehicles today. Global NCAP uses child mannequins and actual child booster seats to measure whether the placement of provisions keeps a child properly restrained in the event of a crash, with the least risk of head and neck injury.

In the Philippines, the law mandates the use of a booster seat or child seat when transporting children under one year of age and the use of safety restraints appropriate for their age and size children under 12 years old.

Driver assistance technologies

The beauty of living in the 21st century is how technology has found its way into every aspect of our lives. Cars are no exception, considering how self-driving became a key attraction four or five years ago at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). While automation has not yet been widely accepted as a mass market, advanced safety technology has found its way into popular everyday drivers in the form of so-called driver assistance systems. embarked. What started with something as simple as brake assist, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning has expanded to systems capable of initiating emergency braking, applying a slight steering input to keep the car in its right lane, and even hands-free auto. parking (in some newer vehicles).

Toyota Lane Departure Assist

While it can be argued that technology can lead to lazy drivers becoming overly reliant on automation, the presence of these safety assist systems have been shown to mitigate and even prevent accidents from occurring. Measurements taken by the Global NCAP evaluate how these technologies adapt to real-world scenarios, particularly in driver condition monitoring, driver alert when the car is leaving its lane, speed monitoring and emergency braking to avoid car collisions. blocks itself.

Nissan was one of the first to introduce its 360 Safety Shield, a surround-view system that allows the driver to have an accurate 360-degree view of the vehicle from all angles. Another was Subaru, which introduced its award-winning EyeSight technology which is now standard across all of its product offerings. Recently, Honda also announced that Honda Sensing will be incorporated into all future incoming models, starting with the new Honda Civic. Similarly, Toyota has also launched what the brand calls Advanced Drive as its new driver assistance technology system.

According to Consumer Reports, basics such as seat belts, airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control and electronic stability control will always be the main safety features that any vehicle rolls off the production line. . But even the technology for these has evolved, even the entry-level Vios have seven airbags as standard, as opposed to the previous five. And improvements will continue to come, just as technology will continue to develop, in the ongoing efforts to make our roads safer than before.

As car buyers, we often consider driving performance and style to be top checklist priorities. But as much as a vehicle is a lifestyle choice, it must be reliable as a safe means of transport. Something as minute as speed-sensing locks might just be a matter of convenience for one, but for a family man it’s a safety feature to have a toddler in the backseat and possibly forget press that “lock” button. Knowing the safety features of your vehicle is just as important as being an informed and responsible driver. After all, automotive jargon and safety prices are not there for nothing. They were designed so that we, as car owners, can also be safer road users.


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