Sometimes, when your lifestyle changes, the result is that you need to purchase a different type of car. Like when there’s a new addition to the family, and you need more space and more safety features. KIA’s National Technical Manager, Nash Budhram, covers some key features you should consider if safety is important to your next pre-owned vehicle purchase.
Focusing on features versus safety.
New and used car buyers will often have a long list of requirements that their next car should fulfill. Often these requirements relate to looks, features and creature comforts, however, some of the most important features are over-looked or taken for granted because people aren’t inclined to think of worst-case scenarios. Here are some key safety features you should consider as “must-haves” in your next vehicle.
Passive versus Active Safety Systems.
Vehicle manufacturers often break safety systems down into two categories: active and passive safety. Active safety systems are viewed as a vehicle’s primary safety system and focus on avoidance or reduction of the likelihood of collisions, whereas passive safety systems exist to protect passengers in the event of a collision.
Key Active Safety Systems.
ABS, or the Anti-lock Braking System, is a relatively common safety feature in modern vehicles. Despite this, it’s always good to ensure your next car is fitted with this feature. ABS assists the driver to have easier control of the vehicle in emergency braking situations by reducing and/or preventing wheel lock up.
Often, when a driver must stop their car suddenly or unexpectedly to avoid a collision, they will press hard on the brake pedal in a panicked attempt to prevent the collision. In this situation, the brakes can lock the wheels, and the wheels will lose traction with the road that results in the vehicle skidding and simply sliding – straight into the obstacle. Because the tyres have no grip on the road, the driver will not be able to steer the car to avoid the obstacle.
ABS hydraulically pulses the brakes by applying and releasing pressure at the brake pads in rapid succession to keep static friction in play and in most situations stops the car more quickly than it would with locked wheels. This allows the driver to steer while braking because the wheels maintain friction with the road and are able to respond when the driver turns the wheel.
EBD, or Electronic brake-force distribution, is an active vehicle safety system designed to make braking as efficient as possible. EBD makes the amount of brake force applied to a wheel proportional to that specific wheel’s load at the time. It reduces the dangers of wheel lock up by automatically balancing the brake force applied to each wheel according to the overall weight distribution of the vehicle, among other factors.
EBD often works in conjunction with ABS by monitoring each wheel’s responsiveness to the brake, and tailors and corrects the amount of brake-force applied to each wheel by redistributing the brake-force individually to obtain optimal braking efficiency – while retaining the maximum amount of braking power possible, and reducing the risk of fishtailing or spinning out of control.
ESC/ESP/DSC or Electronic Stability Control/Electronic Stability Program/Dynamic Stability Control are systems that use multiple sensors to measure wheel speed, steering angle, yaw rate, among others, and detects if a vehicle is not following its intended course. It then course corrects the vehicle within milliseconds by independently controlling and regulating the brake pressure (apart from controlling multiple other functions like engine, transmission, and electric steering) to the relevant wheel to compensate for the momentum. The system prevents wheel slippage and skidding, as well as understeer and oversteer, allowing the driver to maintain control of the vehicle in emergency situations by keeping the vehicle headed in the driver’s intended course.