Over the last couple of years there has been a tremendous discussion around the safety of cars in India. It all started with 5 Indian cars tested for Global NCAP (international crash safety standards). Cars includedTata Nano, Alto 800, Hyundai i10, Ford Figo and the Volkswagen Polo, which together at that point of time accounted for close to 20% sales in Indian market. All cars were the most bare-basic versions, and unsurprisingly, none of them had any safety kit onboard. Result – All 5 failed miserably. Besides Figo & Polo which had some element of structural stability, but no safety features in basic version. Remaining 3 were rated highly unsafe. The similar fate happened later with two other Indian models, Swift & Datsun go.
While this has created lot of noise, only a few manufacturers have taken steps to ensure the safety of buyers (e.g. Polo base version now comes fitted with two airbags (4-Star rating), Toyota Etios has been awarded 4-Stars in Global NCAP Crash Test, while S-Cross receives 5-Stars). Reason being, Indian safety laws are not that stringent and manufactures shy away from increasing the cost of the car.
As India gets ready for Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (which includes similar rating criteria), it is also critical that buyers start giving the right weightage to the safety. They should start opting for some key safety features that make their driving experience safe.
Wheelmonk has compiled a quick list of some safety features that we think every buyer should think about while making their next purchase
- Airbags - Driver & Passenger airbags that become active during a sudden impact and provide cushioning to the body, thus preventing injuries
- Seatbelts - While seatbelts are must, there are certain add-on features that provide enhanced safety.
- Head Restraints - Designed to restrict the movement of head during a collision, thus reducing the chance of neck & shoulder injuries
- ABS - Controls the braking power delivered to the wheels. During sudden braking, it prevents the wheels to lock suddenly, and stops the vehicle from skidding.
- Reverse sensing system -A proximity sensor in the rear side of vehicle to avoid collisions while reversing
- Defogger & Fog lamps - Especially in areas which are prone to extreme weathers. Rear fogger helps in clearing the mist off the rear glass and allows good visibility at all the times. Fog lights produce a low and wide beam of light, which penetrates through fog and reduces glare. It helps in improving vision
- Electronic Stability Control -Prevents the car from sliding or spinning, in case it goes off the desired path System passes the signal to brakes and engine to provide the required control
Airbags function best when passengers have their seat belts on. In absence of seatbelts the human body impact with airbags could be potentially lethal
-Seatbelts with pre-tensioners - Pre-tensioners retract the seat belt to remove excess slack, almost instantly, in a crash
-Adjustable Upper Belts - Allows people to adjust the seatbelts, especially in case of shorter or taller people
Besides these there are many other simple features which are included in cars these days, which makes your car ownership much safer. Some of them include warning systems like - Seat belt warning, Door ajar warning, Power door locks, Child safety locks, Day & night rear view mirror, etc.