Essential Safety Features to Seek in Used Cars

When shopping for a used car, there are countless factors that go into most buyers’ decision making process. Vehicle safety is one of the most important factors to consider, especially with older or used cars. Some just might not be worth the risk. So how do you begin choosing the right vehicle that fits your price range and will continue to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road for years to come?

Investigation is the key when buying a used vehicle. Checking into everything from the vehicle’s history to its safety features can help buyers make the best decision possible. As with a new vehicle, good crash test ratings are critically important indicators of a vehicle’s overall safety, but experts recommend that buyers look for two must-have safety feature when purchasing any used vehicle.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) used vehicle buyers should make sure their prospective "new" ride has both electronic stability control (ESC) and side airbags designed to protect both the head and torso of drivers and passengers before solidifying the purchase. Studies show that these two features dramatically help reduce overall accident and vehicle related fatality rates.

Electronic stability control has been required by law in all 2012 or newer models, but many models released prior to 2012 optionally or standardly incorporated the features as well. IIHS research indicates that the stabilizing technology helps reduce the risk of a fatal single vehicle crash by half, when compared to vehicles lacking the corrective technology. The technology is designed to help drivers retain control of their vehicle in inhospitable road conditions. Utilizing sensors embedded into the vehicle, ESC will automatically brake and often decrease engine throttle in order to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle.

The reason side air bags are a considered a critical safety feature, and subsequently come standard in 90 percent of vehicle models produced after 2012, is that roughly one-third of occupant deaths occur in side impacts. Side airbags that protect both the head and torso can greatly reduce the chances of serious injury and death from a side impact collision. Side airbags have not been officially mandated to date, yet the vast majority of vehicles produced over the last five years have naturally incorporated them into their standard model inclusions. And many more early-2000 models offered optional side air bags. However less than half of all models produced before 2008 included side head and torso air bags as standard safety features and consumers were also rarely offered the option which makes finding an older vehicle with this feature much more challenging.

At Metro Boston Insurance Agency, we understand the risks you face as an automobile owner. To learn more about our coverages as well as our other personal lines insurance policies, please contact us today at 617-884-5480.

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