April 2012

Vehicle Details: Mercedes-Benz Safety

All brands tout vehicle safety, but did you know that Mercedes-Benz pioneered and refined many of the safety features that are common in all cars today? Mercedes-Benz has kept at the forefront of new safety advances for decades, often well ahead of any regulations. You can feel that reassurance in every new Mercedes-Benz model.
 
From energy-absorbing vehicle body structures to technologies that help alert a driver to drowsiness or see pedestrians in the darkness, Mercedes-Benz research and development has paved the way for safer cars. Many Mercedes-Benz safety innovations, proving their effectiveness at helping to save lives, became required in all cars by law, among them front airbags, the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and, most recently, stability control.
 
For the 2012 model year, federal auto safety regulations require all passenger cars and SUVs to be equipped with an electronic stability control system. These go by different names, but all trace their origins to the Electronic Stability Program® (ESP®) that Mercedes-Benz developed and introduced on certain 1996 models and made standard in all its vehicles by the 2000 model year.
 
Stability control helps a driver keep a vehicle going where the driver is steering it by detecting a possibility of a spin and using slight braking pressure at individual wheels to make a correction. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), stability control systems reduce the likelihood of all fatal collisions by 43 percent. Perhaps you’ve experienced its lifesaving capability.
 
There are many drivers today who have never owned a car without airbags. Mercedes-Benz was at the forefront of this technology and was the first to install a standard driver’s airbag in the 1980s. Window curtain airbags, also known as curtain side airbags, first appeared on the 1999 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and now they’re commonplace on new vehicles. These, along with side-impact airbags also pioneered by Mercedes-Benz, added a significant layer of protection in side collisions.
 
Another ubiquitous safety technology, the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), originated from Mercedes-Benz in 1984 and went on to become required in all new passenger vehicles. Because ABS allows computer-controlled braking at individual wheels, it opened the door to additional systems that use brake intervention to help prevent collisions including ESP.
 
Today, a number of Mercedes-Benz technologies use automatic brake intervention to help prevent collisions or reduce their severity. In the 1950s, futurists predicted the use of radar to enhance safety in cars, but it was not until Mercedes-Benz introduced DISTRONIC adaptive cruise control in the 2000 S-Class models that this began to happen. Using radar, the system allowed the car to maintain a set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead, and could apply a certain amount of brake pressure should that distance change quickly and the driver not have time to react.
 
Today, DISTRONIC PLUS and PRE-SAFE® Brake, available on the E-Class and S-Class Sedans, as well as the CL-Class Coupe, new SL-Class Roadster and M-Class SUVs, can detect a potential collision and apply full braking automatically in emergencies. The DISTRONIC PLUS system also includes Active Blind Spot Assist. Monitoring both blind spots, the system warns the driver if a turn signal is turned on while there is a vehicle in a blind spot. 
 
Mercedes-Benz has also been at the forefront of using cameras to help enhance safety. Active Lane Keeping Assist uses one such camera mounted in the windshield to recognize lane markings and warn the driver if the car drifts from its lane without a turn signal turned on.
 
When Mercedes-Benz engineers found that many drivers don’t push the brake pedal soon enough or hard enough in an emergency, they invented Brake Assist. Standard equipment on all Mercedes-Benz vehicles since late 1990s, Brake Assist ensures maximum braking pressure at the earliest press of the pedal in emergency situations, substantially reducing stopping distances. An enhanced version of Brake Assist in Mercedes-Benz models equipped with DISTRONIC PLUS adjusts brake pressure based on the distance from the vehicle ahead.
 
The list of Mercedes-Benz safety features goes on, but there are two more key ones you should know about, ATTENTION ASSIST and Night View Assist PLUS. ATTENTION ASSIST can tell if the driver is getting drowsy and sound a warning to stop for a rest. Night View Assist PLUS, available in E-Class, S-Class and CL-Class models, uses infrared light to detect objects nearly 500 feet ahead in near total darkness. The system, which displays black-and-white images on a high-resolution screen in the instrument panel, can detect pedestrians up to 300 feet ahead to provide the driver ample time to react. In the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, with the added Spotlight function, Night View Assist PLUS will also send a flash from the headlight toward the person as a warning.
 
It’s worth your time – and your life – to come in and see the full range of safety technologies available in Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs.

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