The C class Mercedes is the second highest rated car ever tested under the very rigorous crash testing procedures used by the European Union. Mercedes was a pioneer in collapsable crash structures and roll over protection.
The car has 8 airbags. Two for frontal impacts in the normal positions in the steering wheel and dash. The doors each have two more for side impacts and head protection. There are two head protection bags in the sides of the reat seat area. There are sensors which recognize which seats are in use so only the appropriate airbags deploy. There are other sensors which measure the severity of the accident to adjust the speed and force with which the airbags deploy.
Each of the seats has the usually three point belts, but these use an Emergency Tensioning Retractor system to tighten the belts during an accident. If a baby seat is used there are LATCH system anchors and tethers to secure the seat. If a BabySmart compatible seat is used in the front passenger seat, the airbag will be deactivated.
The car also has many features to help avoid accidents. The brakes are the shortest stopping in its class. MB uses a four channel anti-lock system, so that each wheel is braked at the optimum rate. Brake Assist measures the reaction time of the driver and the force applied to the pedal. If it determines that emergency braking is needed, it will take over braking and apply the maximum usuable braking force. The car is equipped with an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) which measures the speed of each wheel, the amount the steering wheel is tuned and other parameter. Using this information the computer determines in a skid or slide is imminent. If so, the computer applies one of more of the brakes and reduces the throttle opening to prevent the skid. This system works extremely well. However, it is not 100% effective, and one should still drive prudently for the conditions.
There are also items for your personal safety when entering or leaving the car. The inteior lights cone on when the car is unlocked, and stay on for while when exiting the car. If it is dark, the tailights, sidelights and foglights come on when the car is unlocked and they can be set to stay on for up to 1 minute when leaving the car. There is also an anti-theft alarm and ignition disabler. This car is very, very hard to steal.
If you have a car with Tele-Aid (like GM's Onstar), the car will notify the Tele-Aid center if the car is in a crash which activates the airbags or seat belt tensioners. A Tele-Aid operator will call you and ask if you are in need of emergency services, and will call 911 for you if needed. If you don't respond, they will call 911. Tele-Aid can also be used to summon help if the cars breaks down. If the car is stolen, Tele-Aid can be useful in many circumstances in locating to car.
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