The Hidden Features Keeping You Safe While Driving
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Technology has come a long way in the automotive industry. Cars are now
equipped with an array of safety features that were once unthinkable.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
<https://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx> (NHTSA), 35,766 people
died in road traffic collisions in 2020. The introduction of technology is
reducing the margin for human error and ultimately making the roads safer.
Between 2000-2020, the rate of fatal car accidents in the US per 100
million miles has fallen from 1.53 to 1.34.
Features like seatbelts and airbags were once seen as revolutionary and
have drastically reduced the number of accidents and injuries caused on the
roads. From 1975 to 2017, seat belts have saved approximately 374,276 lives
in the US, according to the NHTSA
In this article, three experts from AutoVillage
<https://www.autovillage.co.uk/> have revealed how car manufacturers are
striving to keep us safe - without even having to think about it. As cars
get smarter, even the simplest of tech may be overlooked by the most
veteran of drivers. They have listed the top potentially life-saving
features on the market today.
Dan Powell, Senior Editor at AutoVillage <https://www.autovillage.co.uk/>,
â€œIf you are thinking of buying a new or used car then safety will be an
important priority, but getting your head around the latest terminology and
tech can be a little overwhelming. Thatâ€™s why weâ€™ve created this top 10
list to help car buyers make the most informed decision when it comes to
choosing their next vehicle.â€???
Ford has introduced an Automatic Crash Notification System for vehicles
that are Bluetooth enabled and have smartphone integration. The system
automatically notifies emergency services if an accident occurs that causes
the airbags to deploy or shuts off the fuel pump. An introductory message
is played to the operator and after this hands-free communication is
initiated, emergency services can then use the cellular network to track
your vehicle's GPS position.
The â€˜Golden Hourâ€™ is crucial to emergency services. This is the window of
time after an incident where medical intervention offers the highest chance
of survival, so a prompt response can mean the difference between life and
death. With the use of this technology accidents can be reported as soon as
they occur, alerting emergency services even if the victim is unresponsive.
Lawrence Allan, Car Expert says:: â€œFord was one of the first to introduce
this vital feature, but itâ€™s become commonplace with other car brands in
the last few years. Itâ€™s the best kind of safety tech for drivers: You may
never know itâ€™s there, but when itâ€™s needed it could well save your life. â€œ
Volvo has plans in place to introduce in-car cameras that assess the
alertness of the driver by monitoring their eye-movements. This is part of
their Safety Vision that aims to combat intoxicated and distracted driving.
If the vehicle detects that the driver is distracted, it will issue warning
signals. If the driver does not respond to those signals, the vehicle will
then intervene. These interventions include limiting the vehicle's speed,
alerting the Volvo on Call assistance service and finally slowing the car
to a stop and safely parking.
Blind Spot camera system
Lots of modern cars have blind spot monitoring which flashes a light or
emits an audio warning to alert you if youâ€™re about to cross the path of a
vehicle in your blind spot. But certain Hyundais and Kias will actually
display a live camera feed of the area in your blind spot in the instrument
display when you signal so you can see if the lane is clear.
Lawrence Allan: â€œHyundai and Kiaâ€™s camera feed blind spot monitoring is
brilliant. Some warning-based systems in other cars can be over-sensitive,
but with this system the feed shown in your dials allows you to assess the
hazard for yourself. Itâ€™s not distracting, either.â€???
Lane assist is a safety feature that is designed to reduce the chance of
accidents caused by drifting lanes. It uses a camera to detect where the
road markings are in relation to your vehicle and if you begin to veer
across lanes, it will flash up a warning on the dashboard. In some cases it
will direct the car for you into the middle of the lane, which minimises
the risk of a crash occurring.
Anti-Collision Warning System
An anti-collision warning system uses radar sensors to determine the
distance between yourself and the car in front. If the vehicle detects that
you may be getting too close or the vehicle in front brakes harshly, it
displays a warning and in some cases initiates the brakes. As the vehicle
has a faster reaction time than any human it significantly reduces the
severity of accidents and aims to help avoid them all together.
A study conducted by Skoda UK in 2020 revealed that 11%, or 3.74 million,
drivers have damaged their car whilst looking for somewhere to park. If
youâ€™re struggling to fit your large SUV into a compact parking space, some
high-end models are now fitted with remote parking. For example, with the
top-spec Kia Sorento, you can line your car up to the space, get out and
remotely reverse into the space by holding a button on the keyfob. You can
do the same to drive it back out.
Andy Brady, Editor says: â€œMost parking spaces were designed for much
smaller cars than weâ€™re used to today. Many new cars come with an array of
features to make parking easier, though â€“ from simple parking sensors to a
reversing camera; many will even reverse in or out of a parking space at
the touch of a button.â€???
Dashboard Warning Lights
The warning lights that appear on your dashboard are all colour-coded in
terms of their severity, and indicate whether the car is safe to drive. For
example, the blue headlamp is displayed when your lights are on full beam.
Amber warning lights are more severe, they indicate that there is a fault
that should be taken note of immediately. Itâ€™s likely that the vehicle will
be safe to drive to the garage, however you should always seek professional
advice first. Red warning lights are the most serious, this indicates that
there is a serious fault with your vehicle that is putting both yourself
and other road users at risk. You should pull over immediately, safely, and
contact roadside assistance to resolve the issue.
Traffic Jam Assist
Many drivers are used to adaptive cruise control which speeds you up or
slows you down on the motorway, depending on what the car in front is
doing. But did you know this system also works in traffic? Many modern
systems will actually work at low speeds and can bring you to a stop, only
requiring you to brush the throttle to get it going again. Itâ€™s designed to
help vehicles maintain a safe distance and stay within the speed limit,
allowing the vehicle to warn the driver about a potential collision in time
to react safely.
Lawrence Allan: â€œThis feature is a godsend in the kind of snarled-up
traffic queues you often see on UK roads. Although it only works on
automatic cars, it helps to reduce stress by dealing with the constant
stop-start motions for you. In the near future the UK government will pass
legislation for some of the most advanced versions of this to allow
hands-free driving in motorway traffic.â€???
Sensors in the car detect the ambient light level and automatically switch
the lights on automatically. If youâ€™re constantly forgetting to turn off
your full-beams the car can do it for you. Some vehicles are able to detect
when a vehicle is approaching and adjust the headlights in order to not
dazzle the oncoming traffic.
Tyre wear bars and pressure alert
Many tyres have wear bars that are positioned at 1.6mm within the grooves
to show you when the tread is nearing the legal limit. Worn tyres are
particularly dangerous when wet; the braking distance can increase by up to
44%. This is due to the tread depth being unable to disperse water as
efficiently, reducing the grip that your tyres have on the road. Modern
vehicles also have a feature that alerts you when your tyres deflate below
a certain level and need air. Not only does this help you maintain the
tyres and keep them safe - it also helps improve your fuel economy.
Andy Brady: â€œThe tyres are your carâ€™s only contact point with the road. You
can have all the safety systems in the world but, if your tires are worn or
underinflated, it could be a disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, while
weâ€™d encourage regular checking of your tires, there are systems on hand to
ensure you donâ€™t inadvertently drive on unroadworthy rubber. All new cars
sold since 2014 must, by law, be fitted with a tyre pressure monitoring
system whichâ€™ll notify you when the pressure in a tyre drops below a
From the mundane to the amazing, there are a number of features in modern
cars that help make driving easier and safer. From the dashboard warning
lights to automatic headlights, these features are designed to keep you
informed about what's going on with your car and to help you avoid
accidents. If you're considering purchasing a new car, be sure to research
which models come with these helpful features.