Here's an interesting statistic: Rollovers account for just 2.2 percent of all accidents. A small number, no doubt, but those rollovers account for a massive 35.4 percent of all traffic fatalities. With that in mind, Buick engineers are hard at work perfecting technology like the company's StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Available on the 2011 Buick Enclave, among other vehicles, the system features anti-lock brakes, traction control, panic brake assist and rollover mitigation to keep the Enclave and other Buicks on four wheels whenever possible.
When a rollover is unavoidable, Buick's rollover sensing technology will sense the danger within a fraction of a second, firing off seatbelt pretensioners and deploying side-curtain airbags. Hit the jump to pore over GM's press release, then watch the Buick Enclave go head over heals in the name of traffic safety.
[Source: General Motors]
High-tech sensors designed to predict rollovers and help protect vehicle occupants before a crash occurs are part of the standard comprehensive safety package on the 2011 Enclave, recipient of NHTSA's highest five-star overall vehicle safety score and recently awarded a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Enclave's StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, traction control, Panic Brake Assist and anti-lock brakes help drivers avoid such crashes. In addition, the luxury crossover's new rollover sensing technology ensures timely deployment of occupant crash protection systems.
The sensors can predict in a fraction of a second whether a rollover is likely to occur. If it senses a rollover, the system sends a signal to deploy front seat safety belt pretensioners and head curtain side air bags to protect occupants. Pretensioners reduce safety belt slack, and load limiters moderate the load of the safety belt on the occupant in a crash. Both technologies work together to help keep occupants in place during a crash.
"It's like we gave the Enclave special powers when it comes to rollovers," said Bridget O'Brien-Mitchell, the General Motors engineer who led the team that developed predictive rollover sensing. "But we're using technology as part of our commitment to protect customers and their families."
According to the NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2009 annual report, rollovers accounted for 2.2 percent of all vehicle crashes, while fatalities from these crashes amounted to 35.4 percent of all traffic deaths.
Rollover sensing is part of a suite of Buick advancements that provide continuous safety before, during and after a crash. All Buicks, including Enclave, feature the safety and security of OnStar technology. In the event of a crash, OnStar's Automatic Crash Response alerts first responders to get medical assistance on site as quickly as possible.
O'Brien-Mitchell, who has been working on vehicle safety for 20 years, began her career with GM as a co-op student at 16, working on designing cars and trucks just as she earned her driver's license. She shares office space with her canine pal Curtis, a Future Leader Dog.
"Curtis helps keep the team in a cheerful mood," said O'Brien-Mitchell. "When we're tackling a tough engineering problem, it helps to have a furry friend to cut the tension around the office."
While the Enclave is loaded with safety features, O'Brien-Mitchell reminds drivers that the best safety technology is still the safety belt: "The safety belt is the most effective safety system in a vehicle, so it's important to always buckle up."