It’s reassuring how car safety has come along in leaps and bounds in recent years. So much more than just airbags and emergency braking, advances in engineering and safety technology from car makers such as Mazda mean today’s cars are a much safer place to be than previous generations would have ever imagined.
This handy guide will give you a comprehensive overview of some of the key safety features you’ll find in today’s new cars, so when you’re doing your research you will know what to look for.
The Ideal Driving Environment
Creating the ideal driving environment is vital for any car maker in order to ensure safe driving conditions. Pedal layout, stable handling and maximising visibility in all conditions are some of the features that are in place to customise each driving environment to the driver. Avoiding unsafe situations in the first place will always be the best way to ensure every drive is a safe and happy one.
Technology the goes the extra mile
If you haven’t bought a new car recently you may not be aware of the sheer range and depth of car safety features that are now available. From milliwave radars and intelligent sensors to perfectly positioned cameras, car safety technology is all around you – offering plenty of peace of mind for drivers and passengers alike.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Being fully aware of your surroundings is a critical factor for a safer drive. Until recently the only way a blind spot could be detected was with a head check. While the head check is still recommended, it is now accompanied by Blind Spot Monitoring. This clever safety technology continuously scans blind spots on both the drivers and passengers side. The monitoring on cars such as Mazda vehicles light up a small icon in the relevant side mirror when there is a hazard in your blind spot. Also, if you’re indicating at the time, you will hear a clear warning.
Lane Departure Warning
Straying from your lane only takes a brief moment of inattention. Thankfully Lane Departure Warning is here to help. A smart safety feature that’s designed to read between the lines and keep you on the straight and narrow, Lane Departure Warning detects when you are drifting from your lane and sounds a corrective warning. In some vehicles, like Mazda CX-5, it can be paired with Lane-keep Assist and has the ability to gently help steer you back to your correct position.
Traffic Sign Recognition
Signs, pedestrians, traffic, emergency vehicles. There’s a lot to take in when you’re out on the road. A safety feature like Traffic Sign Recognition can help make sure you’re aware of a range of things such as the speed limit as well as the presence of Stop signs and No Entry signs. In Mazda vehicles these signs and directives are displayed clearly in your line of sight on the Active Driving Display which is either projected onto the windscreen or onto the small display screen placed above your instrument panel.
Adaptive LED Headlights
Intelligent and intuitive safety technologies can also be found in your car’s lighting system. Innovations such as Adaptive LED Headlights provide the ultimate in headlight technology, increasing visibility at night to help drivers stay vigilant by combining three technologies: glare-free high beams which automatically dim part of the illuminated area to avoid dazzling other drivers, wide-range low beams which light up a wider area at low speeds and highway mode which helps you see further when travelling at speed.
Smart City Brake Support - Front & Reverse
Forward and rear collision warning technology is now common across many new cars. In Mazda vehicles this technology is called Smart City Brake Support. This clever safety feature monitors vehicles in front and behind to assess the imminent likelihood of a collision. If there is a high risk the system will consequently warn you and brake automatically if needed, avoiding or reducing the impact of a collision.
Cameras and Sensors
You are probably already aware of front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. These brilliant safety features have been around for a little while now and really have made how we park our cars quicker and easier. But these clever technologies go way beyond that. Mazda vehicles, for example, employ milliwave radars for their Forward Obstruction Warning technology. A hidden camera with a long, wide visible wavelength is used for High Beam Control, which automatically turns your high beams down when it detects an oncoming vehicle. A near-infrared laser powers the Smart City Brake Support listed earlier while a quasi-milliwave radar is able to detect vehicles approaching from the rear. It’s more than just eyes in the back of your head, it’s eyes everywhere.
360º View Monitor
In tight spaces or in the vicinity of active kids, it really pays to have a safety feature that gives you a full view of what’s around you. A 360º View Monitor uses a combination of several different cameras then stitches the images together to give you a complete view all around your vehicle. After using this monitor you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Radar Cruise Control
Cruise control has been around for a long time but has always been tricky to manage in traffic that encounters varying speeds. Technology such as Mazda Radar Cruise Control counters that issue but using a milliwave radar to detect the vehicle in front. It then varies the speed of your own vehicle to match the traffic ahead so you’re always a safe distance away. Radar Cruise Control works all the way down to when the vehicle ahead of you comes to a stop.
While all the impressive safety technology listed above relies on it looking at your car and its surroundings, we’re now in an age where safety technology can activate based on looking at you. Driver Monitoring is now available as standard on selected top-spec Mazda vehicles and is optional on all others. It uses a small camera mounted in the cabin to observe the driver’s condition while they are driving. It detects sleepiness or inattention by monitoring changes in the drivers expression or movement of the driver’s line of sight. When the camera senses danger it sounds an alarm, alerting the driver of their condition.
Technology is Only Part of the Picture
All this fantastic safety technology can be considered as the brains. Equally as important to safety is a strong body. Making sure a vehicle has a strong chassis is the very foundation of better car safety. That’s why companies such as Mazda employ a range of ‘passive safety’ initiatives. High-tensile, highly rigid steel frames, impact absorbing materials and a range of highly effective airbags, such as the drivers knee airbag featured in Mazda3, are just some of the passive safety features that all contribute to a safer drive. Other passive safety features in Mazda vehicles include a rear-seating system that prevents luggage from breaking through into the cabin during a collision, an impact absorbing steering system and isofix compliant child seat anchors to help keep your most precious cargo safe and sound.
ANCAP Safety Ratings
Every new vehicle sold in Australia is subject to the stringent Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). This independent body conducts many extensive tests on all new cars sold in Australia and gives them all a Safety Rating to a maximum of five stars. It pays to take a look at the safety rating of the car you’re considering as well as the reputation of the car maker across all their models. Mazda, for example, holds a 5-star ANCAP safety rating across every one of the nine vehicles in the range.