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It’s amazing to think airbags and seat belts are both relatively new safety features in cars across the world. Seat belts didn’t become mandatory in the United States until 1983, and airbags not until 1998. That marks almost 100 years of the car before putting in safety features that many of us today have never lived without. With technology booming and talks of self-driving cars, it’s not shocking that manufacturers are starting to streamline these features in their newer, everyday models.
From parking assistance to emergency braking systems, in-car safety technology has come a long way when it comes to helping you on the road. With an average of 6 million car accidents happening annually, here are the top five safety technologies to look for when purchasing your next car that can help keep you safe and prevent accidents.
1. Rearview Cameras
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, back over accidents result in 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries annually, many of them children. The addition of a rearview camera will allow drivers to gain a clear image of what's behind them and help reduce the number of back over accidents. In May, 2018, rearview cameras became required equipment in all new vehicles.
2. Blind Spot Warnings
You may notice little orange or yellow lights lighting up on the driver and passenger side mirrors of a vehicle you are passing. Those are blind spot warning lights letting the driver know another car or object is present in their immediate space. These are very helpful warning for changing lanes especially on highways or at night when visibility may be limited. In some vehicles, blind spot warning alerts also include dash lights and vibrating steering wheels.
3. Adaptive Cruise Control
Cruise control makes long trips bearable - giving you a helpful hand in controlling your speed, while giving your driver’s fatigue a bit of a break. Take cruise control one step further and choose the adaptive system. This system uses radar signals and lasers to maintain a preset distance from the car in front of you - automatically slowing down when you get too close.
4. Emergency Braking
Those same lasers and radars that are used in adaptive cruise control work in conjunction with emergency breaking systems and forward collision warnings. The emergency breaking system asses the road ahead of you and determines whether or not there is a potential for collision. The emergency braking system can alert drivers via lights and noises, and can also automatically apply the breaks for drivers in emergency situations.
5. Electronic Stability Control
This feature works alongside your automatic braking system as well. Electronic stability control is a crash avoidance technology that works to prevent your car from sliding or spinning out of control by applying the brakes or reducing your engine power.
6. Lane Departure Warnings
Lane departure warnings alert a driver if their vehicle begins to move out of a lane without use of the turn signal. It will give you either audio or visual alerts so you can steer back into safety. As this feature becomes more and more popular, and as it begins to be paired with automatic braking features, manufacturers are pairing lane departure warnings with an assist feature allowing the car to steer back into the lane for you.
As with any piece of technology, it's important for all drivers to stay alert and focused while on the road. Car accident safety experts caution reliance on safety features as they can assist you as you driver but will not outright prevent car accidents.
As you go to purchase your next car, keep these features in mind. They have the potential to save both your life and the lives of others.