SUV Safety Top Of Mind For Manufacturers

SUV Safety Top Of Mind For Manufacturers

As SUVs continue to be a popular alternative to minivans and station wagons, SUV safety awareness has also increased and has become a prime consideration for consumers when buying these types of vehicles.

Though many consumers feel more secure in an SUV, independent vehicle tests show that the size of SUVs, along with higher ground clearance and heavier weight, often makes them less maneuverable than passenger vehicles.

Manufacturers are addressing safety concerns with new features. For example, Toyota’s Star Safety System offers five safety features as standard equipment on all SUVs-Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.

Vehicle Stability Control helps prevent front- and rear-wheel slip, which is a frequent cause of drivers losing control of their vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is a 67 percent risk reduction in single-vehicle crashes when a stability system is in use.

Traction Control helps drivers maintain control on wet, icy and loose or uneven surfaces by applying individual wheel braking and reducing engine output when necessary in those conditions.

Anti-Lock Brakes use a computer to monitor wheel speed sensor information. If the computer senses that a wheel is approaching lockup (which can cause skidding and loss of control), ABS sends a signal to reduce, then to reapply brake pressure multiple times per second for as long as you maintain firm pressure on the brake pedal, keeping the wheels from locking.

Electronic Brake-Force Distribution optimizes the amount of brake force that’s sent to each wheel. For instance, if you have cargo in the back of your vehicle, EBD reapportions brake force, helping to maintain optimal braking at each wheel.

Brake Assist applies additional brake pressure so drivers can take full advantage of ABS. Brake Assist sensors detect sudden “panic” braking and apply additional pressure needed to help maximize braking effectiveness.

Standard safety features are constantly being developed and implemented into cars, trucks and SUVs. Many are designed specifically to deal with SUV safety issues, while others, like Anti-Lock Brakes, can be found on passenger cars and pickup trucks. Either way, these features are becoming the norm and should be considered when shopping for an SUV.

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