Choosing a safe vehicle
When looking for a new or used car, consider buying one with some safety features. Look for new cars that have a 5 star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) rating. When purchasing a used car, look for the highest star rating by the Used Car Safety Ratings Buyer’s Guide. See Safety ratings.
Vehicle safety features can significantly improve safety and are becoming more widely available. Technologies like autonomous emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitoring and lane-support systems can reduce the risk of a crash. Side curtain airbags can reduce the severity of an injury if a crash cannot be avoided.
Airbags are a supplementary restraining system (SRS). They are designed to work together with seatbelts. For the driver’s airbag to work best, adjust your steering wheel low, facing your chest.
It’s important to be aware some airbags are subject to a product safety recall. See Takata airbag recall.
Electronic driver assist systems
Electronic driver assist systems are standard on most vehicles. While these systems improve safety, they do not prevent you from losing control or crashing if you drive dangerously.
Electronic stability control (ESC)
ESC systems help you keep your intended direction by detecting if your vehicle is not responding correctly to your steering. The system selectively applies the brakes to individual wheels or changes engine power.
Anti-lock braking systems (ABS)
ABS is an ESC system that controls braking force to prevent your tyres from skidding – for example, when you break heavily or in slippery conditions. An ABS may cause the brake pedal to pulse or shudder when in use.
Traction control systems (TCS)
TCS is an ESC system that stops your wheels spinning by reducing engine power or temporarily applying the brakes. TCS lets the vehicle speed up smoothly, even on slippery surfaces.
Emergency brake assist (EBA)
EBA detects sudden braking. It automatically increases the force being applied to the brakes to minimise your stopping distance. It’s also known as a brake assist system (BAS).
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
AEB warns you of close objects in your vehicle’s path. It automatically reduces the speed of your vehicle if you do not respond to the warning.
Lane support systems (LSS)
An LSS recognises lane markings. The system either alerts you when you’re close to a lane boundary, or takes over the steering to guide your vehicle away from the boundary.
Reverse collision avoidance (RCA)
RCA uses cameras to improve your view when reversing. If sensors are fitted, it alerts you when a person or object crosses your path as you reverse.
Blind spot monitoring (BSM)
BSM alerts you to other vehicles in your blind spots when you change lanes.