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Date Published : July 30,2014
Three Standard Safety Features You Didn’t Know Were Introduced by Mercedes-Benz
Not a lot of people know that some of the safety features that have become standard in most vehicles today were actually Mercedes-Benz innovations. That’s because Mercedes-Benz, rather than guarding its secrets, actually licensed its competitors to use the same technology in their vehicles. Whatever brand of vehicle you drive, if it has these features, then you have Mercedes-Benz to thank for it.
Before these came around, seat belts would often be loosely worn while traveling. Every time the vehicle abruptly stops, the passenger would still slide forward in his seat before, in a way, colliding with the loose seat belt. This problem is known as “submarining.” Fortunately, Mercedes-Benz developed the seat belt pretensioner, which was introduced in 1981 with its Mercedes W126 S-Class. This new type of seat belt stays snugly wrapped around you and preemptively tightens in the event of a crash. This prevents you from jerking forward. It also works in tandem with the frontal airbag by holding you right where the airbag will catch you. The use of both a seat belt and an airbag was a step up from the previous system where the airbag was considered a replacement for the seat belt.
Electronic stability control
The next time you’re making steep turns on a slippery road, you’d be immensely grateful that such computerized technology exists. The electronic stability control (ESC) uses on-board computers to improve your vehicle’s handling response each time you encounter difficult driving conditions. It detects each time your vehicle skids or you lose steering control, and works to setting things right by automatically applying brakes to individual wheels or reducing engine power. Mercedes-Benz introduced this technology with the release of their W140 S-Class model in 1995.
In 1996, Mercedes-Benz introduced brake assist (BA or BAS) with its S-Class and SL-Class models. The company’s research revealed that 90% of drivers fail to apply enough force on the brake pedal in emergency situations. The brake assist system detects when you’re urgently trying to stop the vehicle then automatically gives you maximum braking power. The system measures signs like how quickly you hit the brakes and how quickly you release the gas, to determine an emergency. By 1998, Mercedes-Benz made BA a standard safety feature on all its vehiclesâ€”becoming the first automobile manufacturer to do so. Its competitors were quick to follow suit.