When you're in the market for a car, consider the life-saving capabilities of recent models! Seatbelts no longer stand alone as safety features - airbags and collision detection systems are just some of the many advancements that make today's cars much safer than their older counterparts. In fact, according to Australia's New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), fatalities involved with vehicles made prior to 2012 is four times higher compared to those built after this year. Therefore, if your priority is optimal security on the road, opt for a model released since 2012 or later.
Car safety features you should consider
An easy way to determine how safe a car is, is to check its safety rating. There are different ratings systems depending on whether you’re buying a new car or a used car - although they both use a 5-star scale.
If you’re buying new
If you’re buying a new car, you’ll want to check the rating given to it by the Australiasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). You’ll want a car with a 5-star ANCAP rating, indicating that it’s among the safest on the road.
Toyota has an incredible track record of manufacturing vehicles with 5-star ANCAP safety ratings. In fact, all 19 Toyota models tested since 2016 have achieved the 5-star rating, including some of Toyota’s most popular vehicles like the Hilux, RAV4, Corolla, Camry, LandCruiser and Yaris.
If you're buying used
For used cars, check out the Used Car Safety Ratings Buyer’s Guide released by RACQ and the Monash University Accident Research Centre. Again, you’ll want to choose one with a 5-star rating.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Electronic stability control (ESC) is a safety system that helps to prevent you from losing control of your car. If this system detects that you’re about to lose control, it will adjust engine power or apply the brakes to individual wheels in order to keep you on track.
Anti-lock brake system
An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is a safety feature that helps keep your car under control while braking. It's designed to prevent the wheels from locking up during braking, which can cause the car to skid and lose control.
Autonomous Emergency Braking
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is a technology that can detect if there is an object in the path of your car, and automatically apply the brakes to avoid or reduce the severity of a collision.
It's been available on high-end cars for a few years now, but it's becoming more common in all kinds of vehicles.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Blind spot monitoring is a system that alerts you to other cars in your blind spots, so that you can avoid a collision when you want to change lanes. It works by using sensors on the side of your car, and when those are triggered, you’ll receive a visual alert - usually in or near the sideview mirror.
Airbags are lifesaving devices that protect you in the event of an accident. They deploy in a fraction of a second and inflate to help stop your body from colliding with the inside of your car. This reduces injuries caused by impact, like broken bones and head trauma.
Airbags have come a long way since they were first introduced in the 1970s, and today they inflate faster, conform better to various body shapes and in some cases can even deploy before an imminent collision.
Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist
Lane departure warning (LDW) is a system that alerts you when you start to cross the line of your lane. It uses sensors to keep track of where your car is on the road, and if it senses that your car is starting to drift into another lane it will alert you with a sound or vibration.
Lane keep assist (LKA) is an extension of this. With LKA, your car will gently steer itself back into the correct lane if your Lane Departure Warning is triggered.
In Toyotas, these features are called Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Lane Trace Assist (LTA) respectively.
Reversing Sensors and/or Cameras
Reversing cameras and sensors are a crucial part of modern car design, and both are designed to help you avoid collisions when you are reversing, such as when you’re parallel parking. If sensors detect that you’re about to reverse into something, they’ll send an auditory signal to warn you.
Cameras installed at the rear of your car will allow you to actually see what’s behind you by broadcasting what it sees onto a screen on your dashboard. Sensors and cameras work best when used together.