Consumer Reports Suggests These Car Safety Features Would Revolutionize Road Safety

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Road safety is one of the most important things to consider anytime you get behind the wheel (or handlebars). As we all know, car safety features have improved immensely in recent years with all the sensors, cameras, automation, and other integrated tech. Even though we have come a long way, Consumer Reports still thinks a few added car safety features could make driving infinitely safer. 

Increasing afternoon commuter traffic streams northward from LA on the State Route 14 | David McNew/Getty Images

Is driving actually safe? 

As Consumer Reports suggests, making cars safer doesn’t always require giant leaps in autonomous space-age technology. It doesn’t require being bulletproof or self-driving robots. We can take some small steps using our critical thinking abilities and make small unnecessary accidents a thing of the past. 

These suggestions come from actual automotive engineers and can all be implemented with current tech and tools. 

Do your headlights have to be on if your windshield wipers are on?

Cars on the interstate in the rain
Cars drive through the rain | Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

One of the first ideas is also one of the simplest. Many modern cars have automatic lights and sometimes even running lights that run continuously unless manually turned off. This is a good thing; however, why don’t car lights automatically turn on when the windshield wipers are in use

We know having our lights on while it’s raining is a net positive that can help other drivers see our cars and vice versa. 

Car safety should include anti rollaway safeguards

As many may remember, the brilliant young actor Anton Yelchin was tragically killed by his own car after he got out to check the mail, and it rolled back and pinned him between the brick mailbox and the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. 

This is also why many other incidents like it could easily be prevented if cars just had an anti-rollback feature. As Consumer Reports says, “We believe a car should auto-shift into Park whenever the driver turns off the engine, as some vehicles already do.” In fact, CR already deducts points from a car’s safety score if this feature isn’t included. 

Along with auto shifting into park, cars should also automatically shut off if they are left idling for too long. Carbon monoxide poisoning is still a common cause of death in America. If someone accidentally leaves their car on in an enclosed space, CR suggests that the engine should be programmed to shut off after a predetermined amount of time. This may also help prevent suicides as well. This feels like a simple fix for a simple hazard. 

Consumer Reports has plenty of thoughts on tires

Rows of new tires
Tires in a warehouse | Peter KovalevTASS via Getty Images

Underinflated tires can cause a myriad of problems like premature wear, gas waste, and poor handling. At the same time, there are many tools to inflate one’s tires properly; why not just have an alert like some newer Nissan’s horn blast that indicates when a tire’s pressure has been refilled properly. “All cars should have an alert system to aid proper filling of tires,” says Gene Petersen, tire program manager at CR.

Along with tires, CR also believes cars should have more adjustable seat belts. We know how important seat belts are, and they remain fairly static devices. The length is adjustable, of course, but what about height. This is a simple observation of the way people work. If seat belts are more comfortable, then it’s likely that more people will wear them. 

It’s time we take road safety more seriously

Consumer Reports always prioritizes crash test ratings and safety features in their reviews of new cars. Road safety is something we all should be more shrewd about. Driving is a dangerous activity that is a necessity for people all across the world. We know how dangerous it is, yet the marketplace seems slow to fix some more easily solvable hazards. 

RELATED: Self-Driving Cars: Are They Safer or More Dangerous?

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