The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety declares that there were 35,092 deaths due to motor vehicle crashes in 2015. That is about 96 people per day being killed on American roadways. This includes pedestrians and bicyclists hit by motor vehicles and killed. On top of that would be the numbers for crashes that involve all sorts of injuries from broken bones to permanent paralysis. The toll on human life drives technological advancements to help drivers stay safe on the roads, and here are the top ones available today.
Brake Without Skidding
Anti-Lock braking technology met production vehicle models in the United States back in 1971 with the Chrysler Corporation’s Imperial. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) pulses the brakes rapidly to prevent the wheels from locking up and skidding. It works even if you press hard on the brake pedal to initiate an emergency stop. As the system evolved, more control of how each brake is applied has developed. You may see this on your car as electronic-stability control or another industry term.
Back Up Without Hitting Things
Sensors installed at the rear of vehicles detect objects in your path when backing up that may not be seen in your rear view mirrors. The objects could be anything from a bicycle left behind your car in your driveway to a child sitting on the ground just behind your car. Inside the car you hear a beeping warning system that advises you of proximity between your car and the object.
See What Is Behind You
Cameras placed at the rear of passenger vehicles are slated to become mandatory as standard equipment by the 2018 model year beginning in the month of May. They are already an option or standard equipment on many vehicles. A camera lets you view what is behind you on a monitoring screen in the passenger compartment. One manufacturer offers a 360 degree view of the exterior of the vehicle to assist when navigating narrow spaces.
Hit the Brakes Even When You Do Not See the Danger
This system started out with sensors that warned you of something too close in front of you, but did not automatically apply the brakes. You had to respond to the early warning and hit the brakes yourself. Automobile manufacturers now offer various forward collision mitigation systems that will stop your car before hitting something in front of you. This can greatly reduce failure to yield side impact and rear end collisions at stop signs, traffic lights and in busy city traffic.
Crush Your Car Around You
You have probably heard of crumple zones and side-impact reinforcement beams. All these engineering feats are designed to take the energy produced by impact and disperse it around you and your passengers. The goal is to take crash energy and keep it out of the passenger compartment and away from the bodies of the occupants. The engineering works best when occupants are kept in place in their seats.
To do this, their forward momentum needs to be slowed and halted as gently as possible to avoid unnecessary added injuries. Seat belts and airbags are restraint systems that help to keep you from flopping about inside your car in an accident. Added systems, such as padded areas for knees to hit, are also integrated into a system. If you do not wear a seat belt, you greatly reduce the engineered effectiveness of the system.
Other technologies include lane-departure warning systems and radar-like systems that warn you of vehicles in your blind spots. The latest is self-driving cars to take human driver error potential out of the equation of driving safety altogether.