Passive safety features
These features are designed to minimise injuries in the event of a collision. They include:
Dual stage SRS airbags[B4]
Dual-Stage (or dual deploy) technology effectively makes them into 'smart' airbags[B4]. This means they may inflate partially or completely, or not at all, depending on the speed at impact and the weight of the person in the seat.
Before you buy, find out how many airbags are fitted as this will vary from model to model. Some models have as many as ten, including a driver's knee airbag and a full-length curtain airbag. These are important as they help provide extra protection against the sort of injuries that typically occur in collisions.
When it comes to airbags, generally speaking the more there are, the better.
Crumple Zones are designed to absorb crash energy and thus help minimise the effect of an impact on the driver and passengers.
In Toyota vehicles, there are crumple zones in both the front and rear. This feature is combined with a protective shell and frame, and both are designed to direct crash energy away from you. Together, they create Toyota's famous Safe-T-Cell structure.
Not all makes offer such comprehensive protection. So before you decide on a car, especially if it's a used one, it's a good idea to check.
Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) seats
Basically, the name says it all. These seats are designed to hold you in such a way that in the event of a collision from behind, the whiplash effect is greatly reduced.
Whiplash injuries can occur in even minor, low speed collisions. Toyota, for example, now includes WIL seats for driver and front passenger in most new models.