ABS (anti-lock braking system) - ABS stops the
wheels locking when a car brakes. The system shortens the stopping distance and
makes the car easier to control when emergency braking. It was a legal requirement
on all new cars in Europe in 2004.
EBA (electronic brake assist) - EBA senses how
hard the driver brakes, and keeps applying the brake to help the ABS work in an
emergency. It does this because drivers sometimes wrongly ease off the brake when
they feel the ABS kick in.
ESC (electronic stability control) - ESC works
with ABS to help stop a car skidding and spinning when turning sharply to avoid
a crash. It prevents 25% of fatal collisions. ESC will be compulsory in all new
cars by the end of 2014. ESC is also known as ESP, RSC, DSC, VSA and VSC, depending
on the model.
The tyres are the only part of the car that touches the road. We need them to steer,
brake and accelerate. Poorly maintained tyres increase the time it takes a car to
stop, and do little to help keep it on the road. Tyres can also be a good indicator
of other problems on the car. New tyres come with 8 or 9mm of tread. The legal limit
is 1.6mm, less than 3mm is risking it. Tyresafe
shows you how to use a 20p piece to check.
Are they comfortable? Can they reach the controls? Can they see the dashboard clearly?
Can they see all around them, or do the pillars or head restraints block their view?
Adjust the seat and steering wheel positions until they are comfortable and feel
Ideally, buy a car with air bags for all passengers. Young drivers rarely travel
This may sound basic but these seemingly simple functions are essential for keeping
the car and its passengers safe and legal.
Once you have bought a car, you may want get a new MOT. This will help make sure
the vehicle is road worthy. An MOT certificate only guarantees a vehicle’s roadworthiness
at the time of the test.
You may wish to arrange an independent vehicle inspection to ensure the car is road
worthy. Be aware of who is insured to drive it, a driver on a provisional license
probably won’t be.
You will pay more road tax on cars that emit high levels of C02.
A cheap car doesn’t guarantee a cheap insurance premium.
Colour and model may make your child prefer one car to another, but having the freedom
to travel in a safer vehicle is more important.
Modern cars are safer than ever, but young drivers still have a one in five chance
of crashing in the six months after their test. These 12 tips will help you find
the safest car affordable.