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Live Longer With ESC (and Fish Oil)!

October 9th, 2006 by Jeb Foster

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The scenario: You’re buying a car and thinking about which features and add-ons you want. Forty-eight-inch rims? Chest-caving subwoofer? Mammoth spoiler? Or, that ESC thingy the sales associate is hawking but only adds a little button on the dash and won’t impress the ladies?

If the choice is between optional electronic stability control (ESC) and a fancy stereo, always choose ESC. Unless that stereo has a sensor that detects when your car is about to roll over and brakes the necessary wheel in order to help you regain control.

I don’t know about you, but any technology that could potentially save 10,000 lives annually is music to my ears.* Forget the stereo.

We’ve covered the benefits of ESC here at the Insurance Blog before. (See Penny’s original post here.) This wonder technology is not news, really. But even if it’s not a fresh story, I just wanted to wave my own pompoms in support of this life-saving gizmo. (To see how it works, click here.)

Perhaps swayed by Insurance Blog reportage (or by an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study that said ESC could prevent nearly one-third of all fatal crashes), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last month established a deadline for car manufacturers to make the technology standard. By 2012, all cars will have ESC, although many of the big car manufacturers are trying to beat this deadline. Ford says it will equip its entire fleet with stability control by 2009. GM plans to do so by 2010.

This is great news for drivers and insurers. And it’s a great PR opportunity for the car maker that gets to 100 percent ESC first.

Now, if we can reduce driver distraction, get more people on the fish oil train and alert more of our seniors to the dangers of robots, we’ll have a good shot at making living a less deadly activity.

*Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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