Many factors contribute to the longer average life spans of today’s world, and car safety is one of the major factors. With new advances in safety features, less people die in accidents today than they did several decades ago. Cars that drive automatically may seem futuristic, but so did many of today’s features several decades ago. Car safety technology is advancing rapidly. The following points provide some examples.
Adaptive Cruise Control
In the past, cruise control features simply set a desired speed. However, a driver paying attention to something else could still slam into the back of another vehicle. With new technology, there are sensors installed in many vehicles’ cruise control features to apply the brakes when drivers get too close. If a collision is sensed, the brakes will be applied hard. The seat belts will also tighten. This is not an invitation for drivers to give in to distractions, but it could prevent such mistakes from costing motorists their lives.
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Many vehicles are now required to have tire pressure monitoring systems. Wheel sensors alert drivers with an audible noise or panel light when pressure becomes too low.
Many vehicles have systems for electronic stability control or preparation actions. New advances go beyond these features. If a rollover is sensed, the brakes will be applied. The throttle will also be automatically adjusted to help maintain control.
Blind Spot Detector
With this new technology, drivers are alerted when there are objects or vehicles in their blind spots. The feature is usually enacted when a turn signal goes on. The driver is alerted by a flashing light on the dash, a light in the mirror, a seat vibration or a steering wheel vibration. The detection system is only for short ranges.
Lane Departure Warning
This feature is similar to the blind spot detector. However, it determines an approaching vehicle’s speed. When a driver changes lanes, there is a warning signal. If the system detects the vehicle going over the lines on the road, it will also initiate a warning for this.
Emergency Brake Assistance
Emergency brake assistance is not the same as an anti-lock brake feature. This new technology allows the vehicle to sense a panic stop. When it senses a stop, additional brake pressure is applied to shorten the amount of time it takes to come to a complete stop. In some vehicles, this system works in conjunction with stability control or cruise control features.
Occupant-Sensitive Dual Airbags
Since each person is different from the next, low-risk airbags are being created to accommodate those differences. They can be used many times and have occupant sensors for deployment. In addition to sensing an occupant’s presence, these devices also sense odd positions. This means deployment will different for someone who is bending over to reach the radio versus a person who is sitting up straight.
Thermal imaging cameras and infrared lamps are helpful for night vision. New technology allows the vehicle’s controls to change the direction and height of the beams. There is also a cockpit display, which shows images far away that are hard to see.
There are several new enhanced emergency response features in the latest vehicles. One system turns off the interior lights, shuts off the fuel and unlocks the doors after the airbags deploy. Some systems also turn on the hazard lights or disconnect the alternator and battery terminal. New systems may also include GPS data for emergency response units to use for locating the vehicle.
These cameras protect children or pets from accidents in the driveway. Several unfortunate reports of people backing over pets or kids in recent years prompted this feature’s development. When the vehicle is in reverse, a camera appears on the dash or on a mirror, and it generates an image of everything behind the vehicle. The image range includes the ground, so small pets will be noticed. This camera feature is also helpful for hooking up trailers or parking.