The invention of the automobile forever changed how we travel, and vehicles are now an essential component in every citizen’s life. Unfortunately, driving can be incredibly dangerous, with 1.35 million people dying in car accidents yearly. Luckily, innovations in car safety technology are being created every year. As these systems become more commonplace, we can reduce fatal accidents and ensure that more drivers on the road stay safe.
While many new technologies are creating safer roads for citizens worldwide, let’s look a bit closer at seven features that are especially helpful in saving the lives of motorists:
- Rearview Cameras
- Lane Departure Alerts
- Automatic Emergency Braking Systems
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Electronic Stability Control
- Automatic Parking Systems
- Air Bag Systems
By placing a camera on the back of your vehicle and transmitting real-time video to an in-car monitor, rearview cameras allow you to see any other vehicles or objects behind you. Displaying a 180-degree view, these cameras are often equipped with their own washing systems, using the same fluid that cleans your rear window and windshield. This keeps your view clear, so you can safely reverse out of parking spots or into thoroughfares.
Lane departure alerts use a combination of sensors and cameras to detect when vehicles or other objects are approaching the sides of your car. This is especially useful if you or another car begins to drift out of their lane. The lane departure alerts will warn you with flashing lights or sounds, allowing you to adjust your vehicle to avoid a crash.
Brakes are a safety feature every driver is familiar with, but their biggest flaw is the ability for human error. There isn’t much time to react in the case of a potential collision, and applying the brakes a bit too late can be catastrophic. That’s the issue that automatic emergency braking systems were created to fix: with AEBs, detection systems automatically identify a potential impact and apply the brakes for you.
Of course, there can be issues with these systems. A recent example is the electric vehicle company Tesla, which recalled 11,704 vehicles over issues with their automatic emergency brakes. That’s why it’s crucial to perform a vehicle recall check before purchasing a used car; that way, you can check whether a car has been sent in for necessary repairs.
Building off of the traditional cruise control that helps your vehicle maintain a certain speed, adaptive cruise control adds a further level of safety by establishing a set following distance. Using a combination of radar, cameras, and laser technology, adaptive cruise control will detect the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you and automatically adjust your speed to keep you at a safe range. If your car starts to get too close, lights and noises will alert you as the car either suggests you brake or, in newer models, applies the brakes on its own.
Using computer-assisted braking on each wheel of your vehicle, electronic stability control can help your car retain traction in challenging road conditions. This will keep your vehicle from spinning and assist the driver during complex maneuvers. Electronic stability control helps lower the chances of flipping by ensuring your tires stay on the road and monitoring your steering wheel input. It activates when the systems detect that you are losing control of your steering.
Automatic parking systems, like parallel parking, can help guide your car during specific maneuvers. By activating the automatic parking system near an available spot, your car will use sensor technology to estimate the size of the area and navigate your vehicle into that spot. This can help avoid bumping into other cars in a tight parking situation and get your vehicle out of traffic and into a parking spot faster.
One of the most prominent car safety features, air bags, are inflatable pockets of air that deploy during crashes and impacts. Most cars come with front and side airbags, which can help protect both the driver and the passengers. Air bags can drastically reduce the severity of injuries during a crash, cushioning the head and upper body from the brunt of the force of an accident.
Car safety technology has saved countless lives and made safe driving that much easier for everyone on the road. But, even with all the advancements in safety, you’ll still need to be attentive and observant on the road. Make sure to drive at safe speeds, carefully monitor your vehicle’s blind spots, and stay alert while driving. By combining technology and safe driving practices, you can ensure you get to your destination safe and sound.