Every year, over 35,000 deaths result from road accidents in America. In 2021 alone, 42,915 deaths occurred on American roads, the highest it has ever been since 2015. Most of these accidents are a result of driver error.
Thanks to technology, cars have become significantly safer than they were when the first car hit the road. But the technological advancement of the past two decades has helped achieve big milestones in car safety.
This guide looks at car safety technologies likely to reduce the chances of an accident and which you should consider if you want a safe car.
Forward Collision System
Rear-end collisions are common on American roads. According to statistics, 29 percent of all car crashes are rear-ended collisions and are responsible for approximately 1700 deaths.
Often, these accidents are caused by distractions such as looking at the phone or fiddling with other controls on the dashboard. Today almost all cars leaving the production line have forward collision systems, meaning forward collision could be a thing of the past.
The system depends on sensors and cameras to warn drivers when they are too close to the car in front.
Automatic Emergency Braking
Often the forward collision system works together with an automatic braking system to slow down or stop a vehicle if the driver fails to take the appropriate step sooner.
There are two types of emergency braking features; crash-imminent braking system and dynamic brake support. A crash imminent braking system relies on sensors and cameras to detect an imminent crash.
It applies brakes automatically to slow down the vehicle or bring it to a stop to avoid a collision if the driver fails to act in time. Also, it may give audio or light signals to alert the driver of an imminent collision.
Lane departure occurs when a vehicle veers off the lane unintentionally. Like forward collisions, veering off the lane is usually a result of distractions, drunk driving, or fatigued driving. This feature utilizes sensors and cameras to detect when a car is veering off the road.
If it detects a veering off the road, the system warns the driver through sound or lights. The advanced lane departure feature goes beyond a warning to steer a vehicle back to the lane if the drivers don’t take action in time.
Blind Spot Detection
If you do not monitor your surroundings before moving lanes or taking a turn, you have a high chance of getting into an accident. You can reduce this risk by ensuring that you check your rearview mirrors before making a turn.
But your rearview mirrors alone do not guarantee you won’t get into an accident. You can get into an accident with cars in your blind spots. That’s where blind spot detection comes into play.
This feature utilizes cameras to detect cars in the driver’s blind spot. If the driver attempts to make a turn when there is a car in the blind spot, the feature issues a warning that helps avert danger.
Driver Monitoring Systems
Driver monitoring systems utilize cameras, sensors, and artificial Intelligence to detect when the driver is fatigue or drowsy. The system looks out for things like yawning, blinking faster, changing breathing patterns, or closing eyes for too long.
If any of these signs, among others, are detected on a driver, the feature issues a signal to make them pay attention. If you are fatigued, the best idea would be to pull over, take a power nap and then proceed. You’d rather be late than cause an accident.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
When driving on a slippery road, the chances of your vehicle slipping out of control are high. But if your car has traction control, the chances of slipping out of control are significantly minimized.
ESC works by limiting engine power to a specific wheel in the event of slipping to ensure your vehicle doesn’t run out of control. The feature utilizes sensors that detect the driver’s input in controlling the vehicle.
If the road conditions don’t allow the car to move according to the driver’s input, the electronic stability control feature applies corrective measures. This can include reducing spinning on individual wheels to ensure the car moves in the direction intended by the driver.
Semi-Autonomous Driving Features
Some automakers, such as Tesla, incorporate all the above technologies allowing their vehicles to move from one point to another with little human intervention.
Semi-autonomous vehicles have come under sharp criticism from transport sector stakeholders due to an increase in accidents involving semi-autonomous vehicles. While the debate about who between human drivers and AI are the safest ranges on, undoubtedly, technology is poised to be a game changer in the transport sector.
At the moment, fully autonomous vehicles are yet to hit American roads. Even Tesla claims on its website that its autopilot mode is not meant to be a replacement for the driver but a complimentary feature. But that has not kept users from misusing the technology, sometimes resulting in an accident.