Car Safety Features

Car Safety Features Rolling Out in a Few Years

Road safety used to consist only of a seat belt and an airbag; if you wanted more safety features, you have to pay a pretty penny. With the relentless increase of vehicles on the road, manufacturers are looking for ways to increase passenger safety. Add that to the fact that 1.25 million road crash deaths happen each year (and countless ones are injured, which might need intervention with physical therapists and car accident chiropractors), it falls to car makers to use the latest technologies for safer, better cars.

Safety features don’t need to be in the realm of sci-fi. Here are some car safety technologies that are already in the latest models or will be incorporated in the coming years.

Lane Departure Warning

As your driving instructor used to tell you, it’s a good idea to keep to your lane, and change lanes when there’s space to overtake and traffic is a bit sparse. That advice has stood the test of time, it seems, as car manufacturers are using lane departure warning systems to remind you of your instructor’s wisdom.

This system tracks road markings and alerts you when you’re steering toward another lane. This can take the form of a sound or even feedback on the wheel. These systems are often paired with a lane keep system, where the system gently pushes you back into your lane. You can switch these systems off, but why should you when you’re negotiating a freeway?

Automatic Emergency Braking

Also called emergency brake assist on some brands, this technology is paired with other sensors to detect if you’re going to collide with something and apply the brakes if you’re not going to make it in time. This technology applies to forward or reverse movements and is much faster than the typical reaction times of the driver. According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), AEB systems can cut braking distance by as much as 50%. Advanced AEB kits even detect pedestrians and cyclists on the road.

External Airbags

The same airbags used to protect passengers can also find work outside the vehicle. As it disperses the energy of an impact over a cushion, it can reduce the force exerted on the car’s occupants. A German car parts supplier, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, recently demonstrated that external airbags could reduce injury by as much as 30% in crash dummy tests. It can also be used to protect pedestrians and keep your car scuff-free.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Again, this utilizes the car’s slew of sensors. ACC works by “locking in” to the vehicle in front of you. With this information, the car’s brain judges a safe distance and applies either the gas or brake to maintain that distance. ACC is useful for long stretches of highways. Some advanced versions of ACC are all-in-one, which means it’s the central point of all safety features (sensor control, braking assist, deployment of airbags, and so on).

Other safety technologies are already being integrated into the cars of the future. These include driver assistance technologies like fatigue detection and other quality of life improvements like night vision and emergency calls in times of distress. Here’s to hoping that these technologies, somehow, can outpace driver carelessness and make for truly safe roads.