How Vehicles Work to Protect You In An Accident

With more drivers on the road every year and vehicle sales continuing to climb, it’s not surprising that auto accidents are as common as they are. Since 1968 when Congress authorized mandatory features in motor vehicles including seatbelts and padded dashboards, auto manufacturers have been setting new safety standards year after year. In 2022, we have Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADS) that are designed to help drivers avoid accidents before they occur. According to a recent Forbes article, in 2020 “ADAS vehicles showed a 27% reduction in bodily injury claim frequency and a 19% reduction in property damage frequency”.

From airbags to ADAS systems, vehicles are designed to keep people safe during an accident. Read on to learn how they work to protect you.

Mandatory Vehicle Safety Features

To keep drivers safer on the road, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed a list of required safety features for vehicles.

  • Airbags
    Airbags provide supplemental protection in the front and sides of a passenger during an auto accident. They work best when used with a seatbelt. In a moderate to severe crash, airbags work by sending a signal from the electronic control unit to an inflator. The inflator then starts an ignitor that produces a harmless gas to inflate the bag in less than 1/20th of a second.
  • Seatbelts
    Seatbelts were designed to protect a passenger against any harmful movement resulting from an auto accident. Buckling up even protects you from being ejected from your car. According to the NHTSA, wearing a seatbelt in your car can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 45%.
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
    The ESC is an automatic system equipped in your car to help keep you on course when you’re steering. It uses the automatic computer-controlled braking of each wheel to keep the vehicle in control when it loses traction.
  • Child Restraint Systems
    In the United States, children under the age of 4 must use a child car seat. Children ages 4 through 8 who are less than 4’9” tall must use a booster seat. Each state has its own laws with slight modifications, but these safety measures help to protect children during auto accidents.
  • Inside Trunk Handle
    Every passenger vehicle built after 2002 has a release mechanism built into the trunk. This ensures that a person can safely exit the trunk if they accidentally get stuck.
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
    All vehicles manufactured in 2008 or after are equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system. This system warns you on your dashboard when your tire pressure is dangerously low. Many vehicles even include the exact pressure status on each tire.

Modern Vehicle Safety Features

  • Lane Departure Alert & Lane Assist
    Lane assist and departure features work to keep drivers within their lane while driving, and even warn them when they’re crossing the line.
  • Blind Spot Detection
    Blind spot detection systems monitor a driver’s blind spots with sensors built on the mirrors and rear of the vehicle. When the sensors detect another vehicle, an alert warning is triggered.
  • Automatic Braking
    Automatic braking technologies work to automatically push a vehicle’s brakes when the system detects a potential collision. The different types of systems include Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking.
  • Body & Rearview Cameras
    Backing up and parking has become safer and less challenging with body and rearview cameras. This safety feature even uses sensors to prevent rear-end or side collisions.
  • Shatter-Resistant Glass
    Laminated glass helps keep windshields and side windows intact, helping to avoid serious injuries for passengers.
  • Adaptive Lighting
    This headlight system reacts to changing surroundings or traffic. Its system automatically adjusts lights to improve night-time and low-light visibility.


When you’re in the market for a new vehicle, make sure to do your research!   Check out the vehicle safety features thoroughly to ensure you and your passengers are safe. And if you ever find yourself in an auto accident in southeast Iowa, make sure to give Finney Auto Body a call for a free repair estimate!  641-472-6468