Vehicle manufacturers are constantly coming up with innovations to make cars safer. While features like seatbelts and airbags have been standard for some time, there is new technology emerging onto the scene which could change the face of road safety as we know it.
The following is a list of ten new safety features which might someday become standard:
Recently introduced by Volvo, run-off-road protection is a safety feature which can detect when a car goes off the road. When this feature is initiated it tightens seatbelts and deploys a device which absorbs energy between the seat and seat frame. This helps to keep vehicle occupants in place in their seats while cushioning vertical forces of impact.
Automatic crash response
Since time is of the essence after a crash, Vauxhall has introduced an OnStar service whereby a service advisor is notified when your car is in a crash. They receive details about location, travel direction and extent of damage in order to immediately notify emergency services.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
AEB monitors traffic and visibly or audibly alerts the driver when a crash is likely to occur. Should the driver fail to respond, the system will apply the brakes. According to Volvo, insurance claims for rear end frontal collisions have been reduced by 28% since this system was introduced.
Head-up display (HUD)
HUDs project essential information such as speed, fuel level, warning lights etc. into the driver’s natural field of vision onto the windshield. This means the driver doesn’t have to look down as often, which in theory should promote safer roads.
Active lane-keeping assist
This technology will intervene for the driver in the event that they accidentally leave their lane. This should not be confused with lane departure warning systems which merely alert the driver if their car is beginning to drift.
Blind spot detection
The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) was introduced by Volvo in 2004. This system uses cameras under the side mirrors in order to detect vehicles within blind spots. A flashing light warns the diver not to change lanes.
This system uses bumper-mounted cameras or sensors to help you back out of parking spots. It uses a visible or audible warning to let you know that another vehicle is approaching.
A reverse camera is a step up from cross-traffic alert because it displays a live video on your infotainment screen when the car is in reverse.
Since using handheld mobile devices while driving is now illegal in Ontario (and several other jurisdictions), Bluetooth systems in vehicles are becoming more commonplace. These systems allow you to use your devices hands-free while driving.
Adaptive cruise control (ACC)
While cruise control has been around for decades, ACC is a game changer. Traditionally cruise control only allowed the driver to set the speed. ACC, however, not only keeps the vehicle going at a steady speed, but it will also make your car slow down in order to maintain a pre-set distance between your car and the vehicle ahead of you.
As innovation improves, vehicles will continue to get safer. We have certainly come a long way from the days when seatbelts and airbags were our only protection.