According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, safety features may not be the high priority for consumers that automakers are catering to, CNN/Money reported. The survey ranked anti-lock brakes as the most desired safety feature. But it was only the fourth-most desired feature behind air conditioning, a radio and a CD player. Side air bags followed anti-lock brakes as second in desirability of safety features, but they were ranked 11th overall. Power mirrors, cruise control and a full-size spare tire were all ranked higher, according to the report. The survey said electronic stability control, touted by experts as the most important safety technology in decades, came in 20th behind convenience options like power adjustable seats and a tilt steering wheel. Consumer Reports Recommends These Safety features anti-lock brakes – Rather than locking up when a driver hits the brakes, causing a skid and preventing control, anti-lock brakes rapidly pulse the brake pressure when the wheels are about to lock, providing the driver with steering control in a sudden stop. Side airbags – Side airbags come in different forms. The head-protecting side airbags are proven to reduce fatalities. Thos that do not protect the head do not have as great an effect. These can pop out as inflatable curtains from the roof, or eject from the sides of the seats. But it is recommended to seek the airbags that protect the head, the report said. Electronic Stability Control – If a vehicle is close to tipping or skidding out of control at a sharp turn, the ESC sensors kick in. The engine immediately loses power and the brakes are applied automatically at the individual wheels. The vehicle is brought back under control usually before the driver notices. This feature is most popular on SUVs, but should be looked for on all vehicles.
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