New General Motors crossovers will include a first-of-its-kind airbag system designed to create a buffer between driver and passenger, reports The New York Times.
GM showed off several new crossover models at the Chicago Auto Show, including the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. These new cars are all equipped with a front-center airbag, which deploys from the center console area between the driver and passenger.
The idea is to prevent either person from sliding laterally in the event of a crash. Crash data has shown that while airbags protect drivers and passengers from shifting forward and back, there's nothing keeping them from moving to the side. This could cause the person to strike the other seat, an object intruding into the vehicle or another passenger. It can also be dangerous in rollover situations.
"In a side impact it's very easy for the occupant to slip out of the shoulder belt and then start leaning or tipping across the vehicle head-first," Scott Thomas, a senior safety engineer for GM, told the news source.
Drivers who want to avoid accidents should be sure to keep up with their auto maintenance. Brake service & repair, for example, can help ensure that mechanical problems will not cause a crash out on the road.