Car Safety is divided between Passive Safety and Active Safety.
Passive Safety is defined as features that help reduce the effects of an accident, such as seat belts, airbags and strong body structures. Thee good news is Volvo makes one of the safest cars in the world.
1. Seat belts save lives. Volvo invented the 3-point seat belt system which has saved many lives and reduced injury. The NHTSA estimates over 12,000 lives are saved each year due to seat belts. I am old enough to remember when seat belt laws were passed. I was driving my hot rod 1972 Chevy Nova and was pulled over because I was not wearing my seat belt. I was so mad when the officer gave me a ticket. How dare he! This law is an invasion of our privacy! I took a drivers education course to reduce the fine and it was then I was told by several emergency personnel that the police, fire and ambulance people were who fought for this law along with friends and family members of crash victims. Wear your seat belt and save your life. Late model Volvo vehicles have seat belts that tighten up in a split second to increase the safety by controlling body movement.
2. Headrest. The headrest is an important part of car safety because it is designed to prevent whiplash and to prevent front and rear passenger collisions by providing a cushion. Always be sure you keep the headrest installed and that it is positioned properly.
3. Check Vehicle history. We see this all of the time, a car lot buys a wrecked Volvo and try's to restore it for resale but the buy used parts off eBay or even worse don't replace all of the parts. When you purchase a pre-owned Volvo always perform a vehicle history report (carfax etc...) to see if the car has been involved in a crash, how severe and what safety parts were replaced. This is often overlooked and is a critical safety measure. Don't send your daughter off to college in a used Volvo without checking the car history and personally inspecting the safety components. It might even be a good idea to have a certified master mechanic check out all safety systems.
4. Genuine Volvo Safety Parts. In most cases you have to use genuine Volvo safety parts or the Volvo computer will not remove the SRS light/code. Volvo cares so much about your safety that their electronic control module for safety parts like seat belts, airbags and crash sensors will not allow the SRS light to be cleared unless all parts have been replaced including a new module. In most cases when your Volvo has suffered a collision every seat belt, sensor and airbag must be replaced unless no passenger was in that seat. A Volvo XC90 seven seat SUV has 7 seat belts so if five passengers were in the vehicle at the time of collision and an airbag or seat belt was deployed then 5 seatbelts and airbags will have to be replaced along with sensors and the control module.
Active Safety is defined safety systems that help avoid accidents, such as good steering and brakes, tires, collision warning, lane departure, blind side safety and more. Volvo, especially recent Volvo models have a lot of active safety features, possibly more than any other auto manufacture. Systems like BLISS (Blind Spot Safety System) reduce that blind spot in all cars that causes many collisions. Lane Departure warns you when your Volvo is crossing into other lanes. Collision warning will stop your car should you become distracted. Volvo has a lot more safety devices and leads the automotive industry when it comes to safety. Volvo systems are so safe Volvo is close to becoming the first car company with an fully autonomous car that can drive all by itself. They recently said they will accept responsibility for accidents caused by it's autonomous car which Google and the car companies have not agreed too.
5. Tires and tire pressure. Tires are a crucial part of active safety because a under inflated tire can drastically reduce the turning ability which can affect your ability to avoid collisions. A worn tire is especially dangerous because it reduces steering control and brake distance. On rainy days a worn tire will drastically increase the distance it takes to stop the car and your ability to steer away from danger.
6. Brake Systems. Make sure you replace your brake pads and rotors when needed and don't delay. The brake system is vital to active safety and a poor performing brake system can cause serious injury or death. Good brakes allow you stop quick and in shorter distance which may allow you to avoid a wreck completely. It's also a good idea to have a certified technician inspect your brakes yearly.
7. Window Wipers. You might think this part is not that important that is until you find yourself in heavy rain and your wipers don't work. Trust my I have been there and it is not only very scary but down right dangerous. Snow and Ice can also affect your ability to see so be prepared with good working window wiper parts. Many Volvo's have front and rear wiper blades which should be replaced annually and inspected every six months. Ice can destroy wiper blades so it is a good idea to replace them every spring and inspect them every fall. It is crucial that you can see and a basic safety requirement.
8. Lights. Lights are crucial to safety so that other drivers can see you and you can see the road. Check all of the lights on your Volvo to make sure they are working and clearly visible. Check headlamps and make sure they are clear, I know a lot of cars made today including Volvo have the foggy headlamps because they are plastic and the chemicals in car wash stations make the foggy. There are a lot of inexpensive products that will remove the haze or at least make better. Another item that is often over looked is the fact that headlamp bulbs (all bulbs really) fade over time. just because your bulb works doesn't mean it shouldn't be replaced. A 3 year old headlight bulb can be 50% less bright than a new bulb. One more thing is as we get older we have a harder time seeing at night. If you are like me and can't see as well as when i was younger it might be a good idea to add fog lamps or purchase brighter "super white" headlamp bulbs.
9. Distractions. This is a huge topic with multi million dollar campaigns including television ads and new articles but I felt like it should be mentioned here too. I have family members who have suffered due to distracted drivers. Everything is a distraction these days including passengers, cell phones, navigation screens, radios and other gadgets. The number one cause of vehicle accidents is a distracted driver and it's possible the easiest to fix. Put down the phones and pay attention. If you attend a driver safety course the number one topic will be distracted drivers and it is the number one thing you can do to drastically reduce collisions.
10. Neglected Maintenance. We're busy and don't have time or it cost too much money. That is a couple of reasons why do don't keep up with vehicle maintenance. Keeping your vehicle properly maintained and getting annual inspections can prevent accidents. Just a quick personal story.... I was 21 yo and well like most 21 yo I didn't pay too much attention to safety. A friend comes by the house with his brand new, used 1978 Camaro and he wants me to get in and see how well it drives. When reach 135 on the freeway and passed a cop so fast he didn't even try to get us. Later we were driving down a side street trying to avoid the cop we passed and cruising about 30 MPH when the right front wheel fell off the car. I mean literally fell of the car. The two of us looked at each other and almost passed out think about what would have happened if that happened at 135 MPH. Get your Volvo checked and make sure it's safe.
Safety tips are meant to be helpful but you should always refer to a certified technician or repair shop for specifics.