7 Advances in Automotive Safety Technology That Could Save Your Life

26 June 2015 - By Eugene Herbert

Hi Folks…

On a daily basis, while delivering driver training, we find out how uninformed most drivers are about the technology resident in the vehicles they own or drive. This becomes even more evident with regard to the important role these play in terms of ensuring their safety.

It is worth remembering that every single time you get behind the wheel of your car, you’re putting your life in your own hands—and in the hands of every unskilled, distracted, and incompetent driver you happen to meet on the road. When you hear people claim that you’re more likely to die in a car accident than an airplane crash, it might be tempting to just write it off as hyperbole, but there’s actually hard science behind that claim. The fact is that people die in car crashes every day, and many times more are injured, but as technology advances, things are actually getting better.

This week we will explore 3 of those 7 technological advances:

1.  Seat Belts

The original technology: lap belts.

The advance: shoulder belts.

Why it's so important:

Seat belts are boring and pretty much universal, so it may seem like they don’t belong on this list. If you were born in or after the 1980s, there’s even a good chance that you’ve never even ridden in a car that didn’t come equipped with this most essential of all safety features. But there was a time when seat belts weren’t standard, and even when governmental regulations forced an industry-wide adoption of the feature, the first lap belts were only a pale reflection of the advanced safety restraints we enjoy today.

According to the CDC, seatbelts in the US save well over 10,000 lives a year, and since 1977 this one safety technology has saved roughly 255,000 lives. So while “click it or ticket” may be the driving force behind some people grudgingly deciding to buckle up, wearing a seat belt is probably the single most important step you can take toward not becoming one of those fatalities

2.  Airbags

The original technology: dumb airbags.

The advance: smart airbags.

Why it's so important:

Airbag technology has suffered from some bad press over the years. That airbags save lives is not debated, but they’re also dangerous in some situations, and seating a child in the front seat of an older airbag-equipped vehicle can actually have fatal repercussions. However, advances in airbag technology have actually made them much safer, less likely to cause injuries, and even better at saving lives.

One of the most important advances is the smart airbag, which uses an array of sensors to determine when it isn’t safe to deploy. For instance, if a smart airbag determines that a passenger is below a given weight threshold, it will typically fail to deploy in order to avoid causing serious injuries or death. Other advances, like side curtain and rollover airbags, may save your life during a rollover accident by preventing your forcible ejection from the vehicle.

3.  Adaptive Headlights

The original technology: stationary headlights.

The advance: adaptive headlights.

Why it's so important:

While some advances in automotive technology have been met with mixed results and unclear data, the jury is in on adaptive headlights, and they can definitely save your life—particularly if you find yourself on the road during the twilight hours. According to a study performed by the IIHS in the US, vehicles equipped with adaptive headlights were involved in about 10 percent less accidents.

As observed in the opening paragraph there is – in general terms – much ignorance  among most drivers on how they benefit from technology so feel free to share  this with other drivers on your contact list.

Till next time, Remember – Technology doesn’t make a bad driver better, only education accompanied by training will really make a difference. For more info on what training programs are available please enquire at info@advanceddriving.co.za

Eugene Herbert

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