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Do You Understand Your Car's Safety Features?

Safety features: Airbag
Photo: iStockphoto

Safety features might be top of mind when you're buying a car, but according to a poll conducted this summer by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), less than 35% of Canadians are actually familiar with all of the safety features on their vehicle.

I was surprised by this statistic until I read about which safety features poll participants were asked about. I know how ABS (anti-lock brakes) work, but how about EBFD (electronic break force distribution) and ESC (electronic stability control)? How do those work? Does my vehicle even have those? And how do they affect my driving?

According to TIRF:

“Many of these technologies are rapidly becoming standard on newer vehicles across the automotive industry mainly because research shows they increase driver safety. The benefits of safety features, however, cannot be fully realized until drivers understand their function and are able to operate the vehicle in a safe manner by interacting appropriately with them.”

Fortunately, about a year ago TIRF launched a fantastic resource called "Brain on Board", designed to educate drivers like me about my vehicle's safety features.

Brain on Board reminds us that "your brain is your vehicle's most important safety feature." The site focuses on the winning combination of mindful driving and safety feature awareness. It provides information - in video and written format - to help demystify some of these safety feature acronyms, putting you firmly in the driver's seat when it comes to safety features.

The site also tackles myths and misconceptions about safety features, such as: "Vehicle safety features allow me to drive faster and make it less likely that I will be involved in a crash." and, my personal favourite: "Vehicle safety features are for other drivers who don’t drive as well as I do."

Check out this video about Brain on Board and be sure to visit the Brain on Board site to get a handle on how your vehicle's safety features work together to help keep you safe on the road.

Are you familiar with all of the safety features your vehicle offers? Do you think a site like Brain on Board is useful? Let us know in the comments!

- Rose R.


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Excellent post and I would most definitely believe a site such as "Brain on Board" would be beneficial to all.

Alexandra LeMay

Loved the post and the Brain on Board site. We're in the process of buying a new vehicle so information on car safety features is both timely and welcome.

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