The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that in 2020, there were over 38,000 fatalities as a result of car accidents. This number is higher than the fatalities in 2019 despite there being fewer drivers on the roads as a result of the pandemic.
Car manufacturers are keen to improve safety features in their new models to address the increasing number of car accidents on American roads. Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems are especially popular with drivers because they not only improve the driving experience but also reduce the risk of bodily injuries.
With most car accidents occurring due to unavoidable circumstances such as weather or driver error, car manufacturers are focused on ADAS that prevent accidents. Some of the car safety features that may help you avoid a car accident include:
Automatic Emergency Braking
Automatic emergency braking is a pre-crash warning system. The system warns you using auditory or visual clues when there is an obstacle that may cause a crash. Depending on the make and model, AEB may be installed as:
- Forward collision warning
- Reverse automatic emergency braking
- Automatic emergency braking
- Pedestrian automatic emergency braking
AEB is especially useful in parts of the country such as North America where the IIHS estimates that rear-end crashes are more common. These collision avoidance systems have helped prevent up to 50% of such accidents.
AEB also uses forward collision warning to estimate the distance between the car and other vehicles, pedestrians, or animals using radar or cameras. The system will warn you if it detects any potential collision using an alarm or lights. In some cases, the AEB system will prepare the steering or brakes for evasive maneuvers.
If you are unable to heed the warning for any reason, AEB can also automatically bring the car to a complete stop to avoid the collision. In newer car models, AEB is designed to steer around obstacles, tighten safety belts, and close windows to minimize injuries.
While AEB was initially sold as a feature in luxury vehicles, it is now more common in most vehicles. By September 2022, auto manufacturers selling in North America are set to include standardized AEB systems on all new passenger cars.
Most new vehicles now have backup cameras to help drivers detect objects or other vehicles that may be behind the car. Modern cars will also have a display screen in the middle console that the driver can view.
These backup cameras track the car’s trajectory while in reverse. Some cars also have sensors in addition to backup cameras that warm the driver in case there is an object beyond the car.
Modern backup camera systems are also equipped to automatically apply brakes to prevent a collision. These systems are especially useful in parking docs where most reverse crashes typically occur. Backup cameras have been proven to prevent up to 42% of crashes.
Lane Assistance or Lane Departure Warning
Modern crash prevention systems come labelled under different names, but it is critical to take note of how the feature prevents accidents. Lane departure warning or lane assistance systems alert you if your car deviates out of its lane.
The lane departure prevention will beep, turn on the dashboard lights or vibrate the steering wheel to alert the driver. If you are buying a new car, you must test-drive it as some lane departure warning systems tend to make the car swerve causing instability.
According to the IIHS, lane departure warning has reduced head-on, side swipe, and single vehicle accidents.
Blind Spot Warning
If you are always surprised to find a vehicle next to you while changing lanes, it might help to invest in a blind spot warning system. Blind spot warning uses radar to detect vehicles that you can’t see using the side mirrors.
The monitoring system will alert you if there is a vehicle in your blind spot using a warning light installed near the side mirrors or inside the car. Some blind spot warning systems also vibrate the steering wheel to get your attention.
IIHS estimates that blind spot warning reduces lane-change collisions by up to 14%. While usually installed as an optional feature in most newly manufactured vehicles, it is a worthwhile investment.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive Cruise Control uses a forward sensor to monitor the distance between your car and those ahead of it. ACC typically supplements the cruise control system that comes pre-installed in some vehicles with safety features similar to forward collision braking or AEB (automatic emergency braking).
ACC will automatically increase or reduce the speed to maintain a safe distance between you and other vehicles. Some modern systems allow the driver to set the minimum distance for the ACC to always maintain.
These are just a few of the car safety features that can help you avoid accidents on the road. However, collision avoidance technology has been proven to dramatically prevent and reduce the severity of car accidents.
Other advanced car safety features to look into as you invest in a new car include:
- All season tires
- Adaptive lighting
- Shatter resistant glass
- Rear cross traffic alerts
- Automatic crash notification
- Parking assist
The Best Safety Feature to Help You Avoid a Car Accident
Ultimately, the best safety feature is the driver. While collision avoidance systems have revolutionized safety on American roads, safe driving supersedes them all. Always ensure that you are alert on the roads and that your car is in good shape.
Consult a professional to ensure that your mandatory safety features are in good working condition following the NHTSA standard safety requirements. These include:
- Inside trunk mirror
- Tire pressure monitoring
- Electronic stability control
Learn More About Driver Assistance Technology
There’s no doubt that driver assistance technology saves lives. While shopping for a new vehicle, you may find that different manufacturers label the same technology using different names.
Take the time to learn about how these technologies work and how to take action to prevent an accident. You can also review your driver’s manual for more information about your vehicle’s safety features.
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