Image showing man wearing a seatbelt

7 Essential Car Safety Features In India

Since 2019 the Indian government has started taking special measures to make car safety a priority for car owners and manufacturers. 2019 saw driver side airbags and ABS becoming mandatory on all cars, a much needed step towards road safety. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways doesn’t want to stop there, and is actively making safety measures mandatory to provide a safe driving environment. There are talks of introducing additional safety measures like ESC, supplementary airbags and Advanced Driver Assist Systems from 2023. These safety features are ‘must-have’ and essential features to have on your car when buying a new car from 2022 onwards.

Anti-Lock Braking System ABS

Speedometer showing ABS warning light

Anti-lock braking system (ABS) prevents the wheels from locking up in case of sudden braking. This became a mandatory requirement on cars manufactured in India from 1st April 2019. The system achieves this by applying brakes in a squeeze-release motion i.e., the brake pads/shoes constantly pinch and release the disc/drum to achieve maximum braking without locking or losing steering control. Without ABS, sudden braking will lock the wheels, make the car skid forward, and ultimately cause an accident. The locked wheels also prevent any evasive steering and creates a dangerous situation for the driver. 

ABS is now a standard feature on all cars sold in India and can be found in entry-level cars like the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800. This is a major improvement to just a few years ago where this feature was omitted on more budget oriented cars. When buying a used car, do pay attention to the feature list and research the car well before buying to ensure this essential safety feature is present.

Electronic Brakeforce Distribution EBD

Image describing EBD

The Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) system works in conjunction with the ABS to provide the required braking force to the individual wheels with the most traction to ensure effective braking. EBD is essential as the front end of the car carries more weight and equal brake pressure on all wheels would cause the car’s rear end to skid as it is lighter in comparison. The EBD anticipates this requirement and releases more brake force to the front tyres. This gives the car more braking power and more steering control. EBD is also helpful during sharp cornering or evasive steering events where one side of wheels requires more braking than the other. Like ABS, EBD has become commonly available on all cars sold in India today.

Electronic Stability Control ESC

Image showing a ESC activated on car

The ESC is the consolidation of sub systems like the ABS, EBD, and Traction Control that work towards stabilizing the vehicle by modulating the throttle and brake inputs for maximum driver control. This is achieved by a network of sensors and an onboard computer that are constantly monitoring the car’s behaviour. The ESC is an essential system when driving at high speed, offering greater stability in the event of sudden condition changes or maneuvers. 

The Indian government is making ESC mandatory on all cars from 2023 onwards, so you should start seeing new cars come with this feature as standard. In the used car space, premium hatchback, SUVs and sedans are the segments where this feature is commonly found.

Speed Warning

Image showing the speed warning symbol

According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, about 70% of accidents occur due to over-speeding. From July 2019, speed warning systems were made compulsory on all cars. This system ensures that drivers don’t unknowingly over-speed and increase their chances of getting into an accident. The device installed in cars monitors the vehicle’s speed and starts beeping at irregular intervals when the vehicle crosses 80 km/hr and continuously after crossing 120 km/hr. Check the video below.

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System TPMS

Image showing Tyre Pressure Monitoring System Active

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is an electronic system that is designed to gauge the air pressure of a vehicle’s tyres and shows air pressure in real-time. This information is indicated to the driver, through a gauge, graphical display, or simple low-pressure warning light, guiding them to correct the air pressure if necessary. TPMS is necessary, as low pressure or high pressure can have adverse effects on driving quality and may cause loss of control resulting in unfavourable road situations. TPMS is available in premium variants of cars which go above 7 lakhs, but not to worry you can get an aftermarket version and install it at your nearest garage or by yourself.

ISOFIX

Image showing ISPFIX bracket on the rear car seat

ISOFIX are attachment points for child safety seats in car seats. Children till the age of 12 years require a special seat to sit in the car as OEM seats and seat belts are made according to adult measurements. ISOFIX brackets attach the child seat firmly to the car seat, which in turn helps the seatbelt to be used properly on a child. ISOFIX brackets are useless without child safety seats, which unfortunately is not a mandatory requirement in India yet. Child safety is a very crucial aspect of driving and should not be taken for granted.

Parking Sensor

Image showing parking sensors on the rear of a car

Parking is an important part of driving and like a chameleon we cannot see backwards, so seeing the rear of the car is a bit of a problem. So, we came up with rear view and side view mirrors which helped but not a lot, enter ultrasonic proximity sensors. These sensors emit acoustic pulses with a device that also measures the interval taken for the pulse to reflect and come back, if there is no object there won’t be any sound, but if you get closer the warning tones will increase in frequency and sound, in some cars there will also be a display that would show the distance between the car and the object. Parking sensors come in handy while parking as they could detect the presence of objects or people in case our eyes missed.

FAQs

Is ESC a mandatory feature for all cars in India?

Not yet. But the government does plan to make Electronic Stability Control (ESC) mandatory from 2023.

Why are child seats required for ISOFIX?

Since OEM seats are made for adults, these seats can develop into a major safety hazard if children are seated in them. Child seats are built to keep children safe and mount into ISOFIX brackets given in the car.

Can Speed Warning be turned off?

Only if you drive under the speed limit. These systems cannot be overridden and are in place for your safety.

Does TPMS come standard with cars in India?

No, TPMS doesn’t come as standard, however, you can buy it aftermarket and get it installed on your car.

Can parking sensors be replaced?

Yes, they can be, you will have to find a proper replacement set and go to a car garage to get the job done.

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