Vehicle safety technology improves and advances with each model year. New and improved ways to keep us safer on the road are incorporated into existing models are forefront in brand new offerings. Some of these features and advances are active, some are optional, and some are passive.
The U.S. Insurance institute for Highway Safety is an organization that conducts studies of the effects of such technologies. David Zuby, chief research officer at the IIHS states that these technologies can save lives and prevent injuries. For example, front crash prevention – is possibly more important than seatbelts and airbags. Keep reading to learn how these cutting-edge technological advancements increase safety and, in many cases, save lives.
Autonomous Cruise Control
Cruise control is not a new feature and a definite must-have for long road trips. Autonomous Cruise Control (ACC) is a more advanced type of cruise control that automatically adjusts your cars speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead of you. This way you can enjoy the benefits of cruise control, without having to engage the breaks and reset it.
An even more advanced option, Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, gathers information from satellites, roadside beacons, and mobile infrastructure to determine the distance between cars, and to adjust from there.
Front/Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
This feature will alert the driver when a vehicle is approaching from the side and can be quite useful in parking lots and other situations when visibility is impaired by other vehicles, buildings, trees and bushes. The capabilities of these systems can vary greatly; some will alert with lights and sounds while others will make an automatic correction.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Electronic stability control is a computerized technology that improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing the loss of traction during a skid. When loss of control or skidding is detected, the technology automatically applies the brakes individually to help steer the vehicle where the driving intends to go. Some systems even reduce engine power until control is regained. ESC is so important that Transport Canada requires that all new vehicles produced since late 2011 include this feature.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
AEB is a technology that alerts a driver to an impending crash and helps the vehicle use its maximum braking capacity to stop the vehicle and avoid the collision. Advanced systems, in certain circumstances will automatically stop the vehicle. Some systems even include pedestrian detection. The IIHS reports that rear-end crashes are the most common type of collision reported to police. Almost half of these types of accidents are prevented by AEB according to an IIHS study.
There are 3 categories of AEB
- Low speed system – this system is designed for use on city streets to detect other cars in front of yours, in hopes to prevent crashes and minor injuries such as whiplash
- Higher speed system – scans up to 200 meters in front of your car and uses a long-range radar for faster speeds
- Pedestrian system – picks up pedestrian movement in relation to the direction your vehicle is traveling and determines risk of collision
AEB goes by many names such as; active city braking, pre-crash safety system, and active city brake.
Blind Spot Warning
This technology uses a radar to “see” vehicles that you may miss using mirrors alone and will help you avoid those close-call collisions when changing lanes. Blind spot detection has reduced lane-change crashes by 14%, according to another IIHS study.
This feature is offered on many models using different descriptions, but the basic operations are the same. Lane departure warning will alert the driver when the vehicle drifts out of the current lane. Further, lane departure prevention operates the same but with an automatic correction. The automatic feature greatly affects the handling of a vehicle, so a test drive is critical. This technology has reduced the number of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes reported to police.
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