Steer Clear Of Trouble

Car-safety organisation Euro NCAP has today (28 June) issued a strong recommendation that motorists ensure their next car is fitted with a Stability Control system. Available from most manufacturers, these systems dramatically reduce the chances of being involved in an accident by helping drivers to maintain control of their vehicles. If a driver has misjudged a corner or suddenly swerves to avoid an obstacle, Stability Control can help him to avoid a skid and can turn an accident into a near-miss.

Stability Control evolved from other technologies such as traction control and anti-lock brakes. This tried and tested technology, along with some additional sensors, feeds information to a computerized control unit. The signals are continuously monitored to determine whether or not the vehicle is losing control. If a deviation from the intended course is detected, the control unit applies a small amount of braking to whichever wheel is needed to help stabilize the course of the vehicle. Some systems also adjust the power output of the engine to help further. This is all done by the control unit which reacts faster than even the best driver could manage. The driver may not know that the system has intervened.

Studies have shown that cars fitted with Stability Control are less involved in certain types of accidents than those without. In Sweden *, an overall reduction of 22% has been detected, rising to 32% just in wet conditions, and a study in Japan ** has suggested a decrease in accident involvement of some 30 to 35 per cent. American and German studies have shown similar positive results.

Euro NCAP has been at the forefront of driving safer vehicle design for the last 8 years through its star rating system and is now extending its consumer advice to cover additional safety features.

Professor Claes Tingvall, Chairman of Euro NCAP, comments:

“Euro NCAP’s role is to alert the consumer to cars which offer the greatest protection in an accident. However, the safest car on the road is the one which does not get involved in accidents. Driving carefully and attentively is perhaps the best way to reduce the chances of being in a crash but technology can play an important role, too. That is why we are extending our advice to the motorist to cover developments in technology, such as Stability Control, which will help protect them and their passengers.”

Further information on stability control systems and advice to motorists on what to consider when purchasing a new car, along with star ratings for all the latest cars on sale across Europe can be found on the Euro NCAP website

28 June 2005 Staff

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