No longer are the days where seatbelts and airbags were the only safety features installed in cars. After President Johnson signed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Highway Safety Act into law in 1966, which later led to the creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1970, American motor vehicle safety began to change. The cars we drive in have drastically changed over the past few decades, with the NHTSA setting vehicle safety standards for cars and trucks, educating Americans on better driving practices, and rooting out vehicle defects.
Today, vehicles are safer than ever, and the cars of tomorrow will advance further to prevent accidents and fatalities behind the wheel. It’s an excellent time to be a driver in America for a few reasons. Below, we’ll go over 5 advances in the auto industry that are making the roads safer every day.
1. Blind-Spot Detection
There you are, stuck in stop-and-go traffic, trying to make it to work on time. You’re in the fast lane trying to get past slower drivers, but now your exit is creeping up within the next mile and you need to switch over three lanes to make it. You start veering off to the right, then you hear a loud honk and swerve back into your lane. Someone was in your blind-spot.
The A-pillar, headrests, and cargo are all responsible for creating a blind-spot on the lateral sides of your car. Luckily, most cars now come with a standard blind-spot detection system. When you’re getting ready to switch lanes, either a noise will ding, or a light will appear on your side mirrors to warn you if a vehicle is in your blind-spot.
2. Rearview Camera
Rearview cameras are pretty commonplace in most new car models. Rearview cameras are helping drivers across the globe safely back out of parking spaces or drive in reverse without hitting another car, pedestrian, or object. Whether you’re looking for Audi lease deals near Seattle or on the market for a new BMW in Providence, for instance, ask the dealer whether a rearview camera is included.
3. Fatigue Detection
Have you ever been on a long ride and completely forgot about 5 minutes of your trip? If so, you may have experienced a “microsleep.” Driving for hours on end, or even a short commute after a restless night can cause you to become drowsy behind the wheel.
Fortunately, carmakers have caught onto this and developed a little thing called fatigue detection. Fatigue detection has the ability to do exactly what it sounds like…detect fatigue. This is done by identifying driving patterns related to fatigue, such as suddenly slowing down or moving into different lanes. Once characteristics like these are detected, your car will issue an acoustic warning to alert you.
4. Forward Collision Warning
Whether a vehicle suddenly slammed on the brakes ahead of you or you simply got distracted, forward collision warning is a must-have safety feature for all drivers. Forward collision warning, or automatic emergency braking, uses radar to detect hazards ahead, such as cars and pedestrians, to determine whether your speed and distance can result in a crash. If your car thinks you might collide with something ahead of you, it will issue either an auditory warning or begin braking itself.
To further protect yourself in the event of a collision, you can download a personal safety app on your smartphone. If a crash is detected, your phone will automatically dial 911.
5. Facial Recognition Software
You may have noticed your fancy new iPhone can be unlocked with a quick scan of your face. Back in the day, movies and TV shows fantasized about a futuristic world where you can scan your eyes, face, and fingertips to unlock a secret room or vault. Well, those dreams are now a reality, and facial recognition software is now being introduced in cars.
Facial recognition software in vehicles works by scanning your face to determine if you’re looking down, using a phone, or getting distracted. If the software notices any dangerous or alarming behaviors, it will issue warnings. While this software is still in its beginning phases, you can expect it to be common in most cars a few years from now.
The Bottom Line
Cars have come a long way, even in the past five years alone. From blind-spot detectors to facial recognition software and even self-driving cars, who knows where the auto industry will take us in the next five years. One thing we know for sure is that our future on the roads looks safer and brighter.