We have just come back from two weeks in Hawaii. The first thing I did when I walked up to our rental car in the United States was try to get in the driver’s side…as a passenger.
One of the most discombobulating things for me as an ex-pat is coming home to Australia and navigating jet lag while trying to drive on the opposite side of the road. Once I get in the car on the correct side that is! I have to admit that I have never loved driving. It has gotten worse since I have become a parent. I worry about the fact that my responsibility behind the wheel is now triple what it was before I had kids. Anything I can do to keep them as safe as possible when on the road, I do. But what about those things I can’t plan for? The unexpected road hazards like distracted drivers or the cat that sits on the curb for hours and just as you pass decides they have to cross the road right that very moment. What about those things?
I am vigilant about driving safely and following road rules, but I had no idea just how safe my family’s own car was! I mean, I would assume it is safe being a relatively new car. Heck, I grew up standing in the back seat as my folks drove in the 1970’s, so anything is better than that! But just how safe is our car really? I could not answer that question. Through a very informal poll of friends, I have come to the conclusion that I am not the only one who isn’t familiar with what safety innovations are out there and whether or not they are in the cars we actually drive on a daily basis.
The Transport Accident Commission (TAC), an organisation that promotes road safety and services for Victorian drivers, has created an amazingly informative website, www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au (HSIYC), that allows you to look up your vehicle and see just where it ranks in terms of safety features. If you are in the market for a new (or even pre-owned) set of wheels, make sure you run your top choices through their search before making your final decision. If you are undecided about what to buy, compare your options on the HSIYC site and let the safety features guide your wallet!
I looked up our family car and was pleased to see that it received a 5 star ANCAP rating and 35.13 out of a possible 37 overall score. While that is pretty good, some big advances in safety technology have been released in the six years since we bought it. One really important one is Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) which has been shown through real world data (as opposed to my informal poll of friends) to mitigate the severity of rear end collisions in 53% of cases and even better, 35% of all rear end crashes could be completely avoided! There is so much to AEB that the TAC has compiled an entire page of information that you can read by clicking here. It really is fascinating how it works. I will be looking for it in the next car we consider for our family.
It just takes a moment to see where your car sits in terms of safety.