Out of the 546 fatal auto accidents in Colorado between 2011-2015, 302 occurred in single-vehicle accidents. Without the ESC safety feature, that number may have been much higher.

Traffic Officials Tout a Vehicle Safety Feature You May Not Even Know You Have

When looking to buy a vehicle, most people look at cars and trucks that are visually appealing. There may be some attention paid to basic safety features as well, but how often do consumers talk to car dealers about electronic safety control (ESC)? How many even know what ESC is? This technology has been required in all but the heaviest vehicles since 2012, and it’s been credited with saving thousands of lives.

What Is ESC?

As mentioned, ESC stands for electronic stability control. ESC uses speed sensors located on each wheel of the vehicle. As a part of the anti-lock brake system, it improves the stability of the vehicle by detecting and reducing the loss of traction on the road, which can cause skidding. Simply explained, ESC sensors detect when the vehicle is not pointed in the right direction, the same direction as the steering wheel position.

If this scenario occurs, the ESC system can briefly apply brakes independently to each wheel and correct tire suspension, thus promoting more stability to the vehicle. For instance, if you lose control of your vehicle due to a lack of traction, ESC will kick in and brake the appropriate wheels so that you can regain control of the vehicle. This reaction is done in milliseconds and is something no human could do in that short of time.

ESC Has Saved Thousands of Lives Over the Years

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2015, ESC saved nearly 1,949 people from fatal car crashes; between 2011-2015, more than 7000 lives were saved due to the success of ESC.

While effective, authorities say fatal accidents are still occurring at an alarming rate, especially single-vehicle crashes. More than half of the 2015 fatal car crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS/HLDI), involved one vehicle. Out of the 546 fatal auto accidents in Colorado, 302 occurred in single-vehicle accidents. Officials say rollovers are more likely to be the cause of the accident. Even with ESC and other vehicle safety technology, human error still causes thousands of accidents every year.

Drivers control vehicle speed, their choices before driving, and the distraction level in the vehicle and yet, thousands of drivers and passengers are killed annually due to a lack of control. Officials say 40 percent of rollover crashes involving a fatality is due to excessive speeding. Nearly half of people killed in rollovers crashes had been drinking. You can have a vehicle with all the latest safety features available today, but drivers remain the first line of safety.

ESC Earns 5-Star Rating

ESC is not only touted among car makers, but AAA’s Foundation For Safety rated the safety feature with 5 stars for its excellent benefits for drivers, especially in challenging road conditions. That’s great news for Colorado citizens who must deal with snow and ice many months of out of the year. According to the foundation, ESC is 71 percent effective on roads covered with ice, snow, or slush. Ensuring you understand the inherent safety features of vehicles on the market is critical to vehicle safety. When purchasing a car, whether new or used, make sure to review all safety features and add-ons available.

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