Man putting on seat belt

Do you remember those commercials featuring the crash test dummies in vehicles? They were part of a public service campaign that aired in the late 1980s, featuring dummies by the names Vince and Larry. They were so popular that a line of action figures was created for kids in the 90s.

What these dummies and toys aimed to do was teach the importance of buckling up every time you’re in your vehicle. The slogan, “Don’t You Be A Dummy. Buckle Your Safety Belt!” accompanied the PSAs, urging the use of this safety feature. While there aren’t any action figures for the numerous other safety features of your car, they are plentiful.

How a Car Keeps You Safe

In the unfortunate event of a car crash, there are a number of safety features in your car. They are all designed to deflect, absorb, and otherwise protect against the energy that is created in a crash. Long gone are the days of letting kids roll around the spacious bench seats of the car while barreling down the highway at 55 miles per hour. Today, our Layton car repair team discusses some of the most common safety features found in all cars and trucks.


Airbags for automobiles were first patented in 1952. They became a standard safety feature in sedans by 1998, and in SUVs by 1999. Located in the front of the vehicle, they are deployed by sensors in a crash. Ideally, an airbag prevents the driver and/or the front seat passenger from going through the windshield upon impact. They work best in conjunction with proper seat belt use and are not designed to protect children under the age of 13.


Bumpers were featured in cars as early as 1897. In 1901, their use as a safety feature was more formally recognized. Have you ever really taken the time to think about how a bumper or fender protects you when driving? Not only does a bumper protect the body of the car from impact, but it serves as yet another layer of protection that absorbs some of the energy transferred during a crash. 


The first backup camera was used in a Buick concept car in 1956. It was a rear-mounted camera with a TV screen used on the dashboard instead of a traditional rear-view mirror. Today, cameras on vehicles complement mirrors rather than replace them. 

Backup and blindspot cameras can aid drivers when they would otherwise miss obstacles in their path. Depending on the make and model of your car, you could have a number of cameras that increase your field of vision.

  • 2020 Hyundai Sonata – Contains five cameras, four of which show the car’s exterior surroundings to the driver.
  • Cadillac CT5 – Has a steering column-mounted camera that monitors the driver’s awareness.
  • 2019 BMW X5 SUV has a dashboard camera that helps drivers pay attention to the road ahead.
  • 2019 Kia K900 – Contains 16 cameras and sensors to reduce blind spots.
  • Tesla – Eight interior and exterior cameras help a driver see what’s going on in and around the vehicle.

Even sticking with the more common backup camera can help increase the safety of your vehicle. You’ll always know what’s right behind you, which is especially important when the kids have left their bikes on the driveway and you’re trying to back out of the garage.


Lights on cars were used sparingly in the 1880s, but electric headlights weren’t introduced until 1898. Cadillac and Henry Ford aided in the refinement and popularity of electric headlights in 1912 and 1913. It’s important to see and be seen on the road, which is why headlight technology is evolving. Lights not only illuminate the road ahead, but they indicate which direction you’re headed. If you can get into the habit of always turning your lights on, even during the day, you’ll most likely never pull out of the gas station at night without remembering to turn your lights back on.


The first patent for a car mirror was filed in 1921 by Elmer Berger. Before the invention of the car camera, mirrors offered a driver a better look at the road around them. A good rule of thumb is to avoid changing lanes if you can’t see other drivers in their own side-view mirrors. If you can’t see them, they can’t see you!

Seat belts

In 1849, British engineer George Cayley invented a seat belt for use in his glider. Later, seat belts were first used in horse-drawn carriages in 1885. They became standard safety features in vehicles by 1967.

Despite those crash test dummy PSAs and action figures whose limps popped off their bodies, the United States’ rate of seat belt usage is only 90.1%. Seat belts stop your body from continuing to move after your vehicle has been stopped in a crash. It’s believed that of the 37,133 people killed in car crashes in 2017, 47% were not properly buckled, or buckled at all. 

  • Seat belts reduce the risk of fatality for front-seat passengers by 45%
  • Seat belts reduce the risk of injury for front-seat passengers by 50%
  • Wearing a seat belt in a small truck reduces the risk of fatality by 60%
  • Wearing a seat belt in a small truck reduces the risk of injury by 65%


Collision prevention sensors were first used in cars in 1990, and many newer models of cars now include this technology as a standard safety feature. These sensors not only tell you when something is wrong with your car, but they can anticipate the likelihood of a crash based on your driving behavior. This can help the car lessen the extensiveness of the crash by alerting you as the driver or even automatically employs the brakes for you. Brake maintenance is one of the many Layton car repair services offered at Master Muffler, so let us know if we can help you ensure the best brake performance possible.

Shatter-resistant glass

Shatter-resistant glass is one of the first safety features ever installed in an automobile. In 1936 it was standard for car windows, and laminated safety glass was introduced in the 40s and 50s. Rather than having shards of sharp glass enter the vehicle or litter the ground after a crash, shatter-resistant, laminated, and tempered glass breaks into small pellets.

With highway speeds ranging from 45 to 80 miles per hour, it’s a relief to know our engineers are continually looking at ways to reduce the risk of injury or death in automobile accidents. However, drivers are still responsible to make wise decisions on the road, as no vehicle can 100% guarantee safety in the event of a crash.

If you’re in need of Layton car repair due to a collision, give us a call at Master Muffler today.

Categories: Automotive Info

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