Richard Green, national director of the South African Motor Body Repair Association (SAMBRA), says safety may be a consideration, but industry reports indicate factors like reliability, comfort, manufacturer’s reputation, warranty, fuel efficiency and purchase price all rank more highly than safety features in the South African market.
“The truth is, we buy what we can afford. Several motorists can only afford entry level cars which come with basic safety features,” says Green.
According to an article based on Statista’s Global Consumer Survey 2018, by data journalist Martin Armstrong (Most important factors when buying a car, statista.com), car buyers in the United States rank safety first, followed by fuel efficiency, high quality, good warranty and customer service, suitability for everyday use, high driving comfort, design, low price, spaciousness and whether it is their preferred make.
SAMBRA answers critical questions around vehicle safety:
No. A secondhand car which has not been involved in any major accidents, has a complete service record and has been well maintained is as safe as a new car.
However, the latest model cars might have more advanced safety features, such as Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), City Automatic Emergency Braking (CAEB), High Speed Automatic Emergency Braking (HAEB) and Blind Spot Warning (BSW), which all make the car safer than a car without these features.
Today’s vehicles are packed with enhanced technology to keep you safe, offering extra layers of protection during your daily commute. When comparing the differences between active versus passive safety features, the biggest difference is when these unique systems come into play.
In general, active safety features work to prevent accidents, while passive safety features activate during a collision to protect the driver and passengers.
It is important to note both the active and passive safety features can be compromised in a collision.
As mentioned, both active and passive safety features can be compromised in an accident. Accredited, reputable and manufacturer-approved repair shops are professionals and meet the necessary standards, ensuring that you receive quality service and workmanship. You can have peace of mind that staff are well trained and have the knowledge and specialised equipment to repair your vehicle to pre-collision condition. Your service plan and/or warranty could be suspended if the incorrect or sub-standard repair process is used in the repair.
The largest part of the responsibility lies with the manufacturer, yes. However, safety features should be a priority when a motorist purchases a vehicle. After purchase, the vehicle should be kept in a mint, safe and roadworthy condition at all times and safety features should be made use of when driving.
Seatbelts. Motorists will often drive short distances without a seatbelt or allow passengers to travel without seatbelts. Accidents often happen during short trips and any person not ‘strapped in’ presents a threat not only to themselves but to the others in the vehicle during an accident.
Safety systems that combine collision warning and automatic braking are the most effective in preventing accidents.
Airbags, Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control, Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and adaptive headlights.
A safer car with more enhanced safety features costs more money. It was suggested in an Automobile Association report that manufacturers should do away with more of the luxury items in vehicles in exchange for more enhanced safety features.
Green concludes that a recent report considered the safety features of 27 cars available in South Africa priced under R180,000 and found there have been improvements to the safety features in entry level cars, but that more can and must be done in this regard.