Because of technology in cars, safety has come on leaps and bounds in recent decades. The days where a seatbelt, disc brakes, and an airbag were cutting edge is long gone. The expectations of the average driver are far higher when they’re purchasing a car. It’s not surprising, road fatalities are at an all-time low in most developed countries, and countless surveys show the benefits of these newer safety features. Because of the new technology people are driving into their eighties.
Recent advancements in technology have not only given manufacturers the ability to create exciting new safety features, but also improve and adapt the existing ones in new ways that make them more effective. Below are just a few of the best safety features we think are here to stay and you should ensure your next car has.
While most people think of a camera at the rear of a vehicle, recent models see an increasing number in different directions, as well as a bird’s eye view of your vehicle and its surroundings. The picture quality from the camera has increased dramatically; as well as the number of pixels in the image on the navigation screens. Some more expensive luxury models even have night vision cameras. These provide the driver a clear picture of what’s behind their vehicle while reversing or in front of them, which helps to protect children and small animals, as well as reducing the likelihood of damaging your vehicle on a fixed obstacle.
Automatic braking assist
This feature is becoming increasingly standard on new models. Many drivers are even starting to look for it when shopping for their new car. The car monitors the situation for a potential collision, and if the driver doesn’t take appropriate action in time, the car will automatically apply the brakes for you. Brake assist is particularly useful for people who drive long distances and are in danger of dozing off while driving. The statistics show that cars with this technology are fifty percent less likely to be involved in a rear-end collision. Will a fender bender and car accident attorney become a thing of the past? It might just be possible!
Adaptive cruise control (ACC)
ACC is one of the instances where technology has improved an existing feature. In the olden days, cars with cruise control were all the rage, but the newest technology is adaptive cruise control sees the introduction of new elements to the familiar feature. The new system uses radar and sensors to control the brake and throttle as required to maintain a safe distance to the vehicle in front. While the most obvious application is just the same as traditional cruise control, long highway journeys, these new elements have also made it useful in congestion. If the adaptive cruise control detects a likely collision, it will brake heavily and tighten the seatbelts before the impact happens.
Blind spot assist
Not checking your mirrors or performing a shoulder check often enough is one of the most common bad habits drivers develops. As we age, it is harder to turn our necks far enough to see all the way to the back of a car. A blind spot assist helps to reduce the likelihood that you’ll change lanes while a car is in your blind spot, avoiding a potential collision. Most vehicles notify the driver by using a small, unobtrusive light in the side mirror. While you should still check your mirrors and perform your shoulder check, this is a great addition.
This technology was initially to provide the driver with a warning if they were drifting. The system typically warns drivers when the turn signal isn’t engaged. However, the rise of autonomous vehicle technology has seen the lane warning systems evolve into a system that will steer your vehicle to keep it in the lane. Most of the lane warning systems will provide a visual and audio warning; some models will also vibrate the steering wheel to get the drivers attention.
What technology do the futurists say are next?
There are several ambitious technologies in the pipeline. Some less common ones already in use include the introduction of facial recognition. The system can tell when you’re not paying attention and can warn you of potential problems.
Laser lights quickly followed the relatively recent introduction of LED headlights. The newest versions can lower the main beam so as not to blind drivers in oncoming vehicles.
A newer feature revealed by Hyundai is likely to become standard in the coming years. Hyundai showed off a Safety Exit Assist feature. It’s an extension of the blind spot system and will stop kids from opening their doors when a vehicle or cyclist is approaching from the rear.
The bottom line
Many of the new features are already available, and there will be more to follow. A lot of the features could be single elements of a bigger autonomous system. As they continue to develop the individual safety features, the ultimate expression of safety will be a fully autonomous vehicle virtually incapable of crashing.