There are multiple beneficial safety features available on powerful 4WD SUVs. They are not all standard on every vehicle, so you will need to be on the lookout for those which are most important to you. Below are five of the top 4×4 SUV safety features available.
Electronic Stability Control:
This safety feature is a computerized mechanism which automatically applies the brakes in order to prevent you from sliding sideways. It is important because it can prevent or reduce the risk of a rollover. The purpose of the electronic stability system is to slow acceleration and apply the antilock brakes to keep you properly on course. This will prevent you from losing control of the vehicle. Stability control relies primarily on sensors to monitor how closely the vehicle’s path coincides with your intended path. Stability control is also designed to maintain control during emergency maneuvers. For these critical reasons, the industry is currently in the process of installing this as a standard feature on all powerful 4WD SUVs by the 2012 model year.
Rear Backup Alert Systems:
This relatively new safety feature warns the 4WD driver, with both audible and visual signals, when the rear bumper detects an object which is behind it. Such objects might include a parked car, a sign or a pole. This feature unfortunately is not reliable enough to use for detecting a small child behind the vehicle. A suggested feature for this type of situation is a wide-angle rear video camera, which is available on some SUV models. Rear parking sensors ensure you are alerted to objects behind you when the four-wheel drive vehicle is in reverse.
Advanced Frontal Airbags:
This safety feature consists of airbag systems with sensors which detect factors like 4×4 vehicle occupant size, the position of the seats and the potential crash severity. These factors determine the level at which the front driver and passenger airbags inflate. This system also reduces the risk of an airbag-related injury or death to a child or small adult.
Side-Impact and Side Curtain Airbags:
Side-impact airbags are either mounted inside the seat backs or doors. They are specifically designed to protect the torso area during side-impact crashes. They are typically installed only for the front occupants due to the risk of injury to rear occupants utilizing child-safety seats. Some SUV manufacturers, however, allow the option to have them installed in the backseats as well. Side curtain airbags are mounted inside the interior and run the entire length of the vehicle. The purpose is to provide head protection during side-impact collisions. Side curtains also protect occupants in the event of a rollover accident, preventing them from being ejected from the vehicle.
Antilock Braking System (ABS):
This safety feature is a type of traction control device. It prevents a four-wheel drive vehicle wheels from locking up by applying rapid yet sporadic pressure on the brakes. This system is typically activated during heavy braking, but it may also occur during light braking. Wheels may lock up and slide, causing an inability to steer to avoid a potential collision. A 4×4 vehicle equipped with ABS will not always stop more quickly than those without this feature, but it will at least provide more control in an emergency situation.