Volvo has saved countless lives with their focus on driver and passenger safety.

When I was 17, a driver sped through a stop sign and slammed into the front end of my 1989 Honda Accord. While slightly dazed and whiplashed, my situation would have been far worse if not for my seatbelt. The bruising across my hips and torso from the restraint were a clear indication that this modern innovation was doing its job in a game of humans vs. physics. While I'm grateful for the Accord's crumple zone absorbing the impact, there's another company I owe a severe amount of gratitude: Volvo, and their passion for safety.

While their company history is rife with unique inventions that have enhanced the modern automotive, there are three innovations that all drivers can be glad they exist:

3-Point Seatbelts

person using a seatbelt

In 1959, Volvo invented the 3-point seatbelt and chose to waive the patent rights so that all vehicles could offer added safety to drivers. If that's not a fine example of selfless generosity, I don't know what is.

Infant and Child Safety

volvo 1972 rearward facing infant car seat

Image courtesy Volvo

It wasn't just the 3-point seatbelt that made waves in auto safety, Volvo later developed the rearward-facing child car seat in 1972 and later developed their own child booster seats, which set the standard for child passenger safety. In that same year, Volvo introduced childproof door locks -- an added relief for on-the-go parents. 

Side Airbags

volvo side impact airbags

Image courtesy Volvo

In the mid-1990s, Volvo was the first to develop and initiate the use of a side-impact airbag to provide more thorough protection aside from the standard driver and front passenger airbags. 

Thanks to Volvo's engineering, cars of all makes can offer these safety features, which have provided a lifeline to drivers and passengers time and time again. So buckle up, everyone! 

Have you seen the all-American Volvo?