The past couple of decades have introduced many automotive innovations. Self-driving vehicles are likely on the horizon, and we’re also starting to see more hybrids and even some electric cars. This will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and it will also slow down emissions that lead to climate change.
There have also been several car safety features that have come out that consumers seem to love. Indeed, many of them save lives every day. Let’s look at a few of those technologies now, as well as the ways that they prevent deaths and injuries.
1. Blindspot Detection Systems
Blindspot detection systems are showing up in more cars these days. They are useful because they can indicate when a vehicle, object, or person is in your blindspot. Most cars have more or less the same blind spot, the vehicle’s midpoint on the driver’s side.
They work by emitting a noise when someone or something is in that blind spot, just in case you happen not to glance over before you try to change lanes. This can prevent sideswipe collisions.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety tells us that 242,000 sideswipe crashes happen every year. These are seldom as bad as head-on collisions or T-bone accidents, but they can still severely injure or even kill a vehicle’s passenger.
2. Rear Backup Cameras
Rear backup cameras are great if you’re trying to get out of your driveway and you live on a busy street. You never know when another car is going to go shooting past right behind you. You also might have a child, a cyclist out for some exercise, or the neighbor’s dog that’s going to choose that moment to cross behind you.
You can always back up very slowly, but you can also activate the rear backup camera so you can see precisely what is behind you. This is a much more precise system than trying to use your side view mirror or else turning around in the seat entirely.
These cameras help you if you’re in a crowded parking lot. If there are poor weather conditions on top of all the cars and people hurrying by, this camera might prevent you from hitting someone and causing permanent damage.
3. Automatic Braking
Automatic braking is something that automotive engineers had thought about for years, but only recently have they had the technology to make it possible. The newest cars can sense when someone or something is in front of you, and you’re driving too fast to stop in time.
The car will brake on its own, and this can be a literal lifesaver if someone darts out in front of the vehicle or if you’re on the highway and a sudden traffic jam appears. Maybe you were talking to your passenger and didn’t notice it in time. Automatic braking is also helpful if you ever let your smartphone or the radio distract you.
4. Adaptive Cruise Control
Cruise control has existed for decades, but in the past, you still had to pay careful attention to the traffic around you if you set the car to go at a particular speed while on the highway. You still need to watch to see what the traffic is doing, but now, you have the intuitive version of cruise control to help you.
The difference is that if the traffic ahead of you slows down, and you have the car on cruise control, the vehicle will slow down and even stop entirely without you having to apply the brakes. This is what the engineers mean when they say “adaptive.”
The car knows when to slow down without you having to take it off the cruise control function, and it will speed up again on its own once the traffic breaks up and you have open road ahead of you again.
5. Parallel Parking Assistance
In the past, many people dreaded taking their driving test because they knew that parallel parking would be on there. The ruthless instructor might demand that they parallel park in a tiny space with barely enough room for the vehicle in question.
Now, some vehicles have parallel parking assistance. You flip a switch and take your hands off the wheel. The car will park itself, and if it finds that there is not enough room to park there safely, it will let you know so you can keep looking for a new spot.
With all of these safety features, cars are truly safer than they’ve ever been.