Accidents happen in an instant. But as technology improves, the futuristic ways of avoiding collisions and major vehicular mishaps are starting to show up. Car designs are constantly evolving to adapt to different environments, and advanced safety features are now becoming as standard equipment on a growing number of vehicle models.
Undeniably, these features have drastically reduced the number of fatalities and severe injuries occurring from accidents. Although most of these are only available in expensive cars, it is still logical to spend much than to put the lives of the driver, passengers and other road users at risk.
According to Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the leading independent vehicle safety advocate in Australasia, the future of vehicle safety lies in active safety assist technologies that prevent or reduce the impact of car crash.
On its Web site, ANCAP listed several advanced features that avoid human error, which causes around 90% of road accidents. Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring and Hill Launch Assist are some of these.
The Autonomous Emergency Braking system uses electronic stability control and sensor technology to detect the speed and distance of the objects in a vehicle’s path. If the driver doesn’t respond, the car will automatically brake to avoid or minimize the impact of the accident.
The Adaptive Cruise Control system uses radar or similar technology to detect vehicles in front. It controls the speed of the vehicle to maintain a safe and suitable traveling distance.
On the other hand, the Blind Spot Monitoring system warns the driver by either visual or audible alarm, or vibration of the steering wheel, if there’s a vehicle on the driver’s blind spot, especially on adjacent lanes.
Meanwhile, when the vehicle is in an uphill condition, the Hill Launch Assist technology is a great help. It automatically uses the brake to hold the vehicle in its position when the driver moves his foot from the brake pedal to accelerator pedal.
In terms of vehicle’s braking and stability, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist systems will help the car deliver an improved braking performance.
The Electronic Stability Control detects if the vehicle is about to lose traction during cornering and braking, while the Electronic Brakeforce Distribution system distributes the brake forces between the wheels to maximize the available traction at each point, and the Emergency Brake Assist helps the driver in providing extra force to car brakes during emergency.
To notify the driver regarding the vehicle’s speed, safety technologies like Speed Alarm and Intelligent Speed Alert are also introduced. The Speed Alarm alerts the driver when the vehicle exceeds a pre-set speed, while the Intelligent Speed Alert automatically limits the speed of the vehicle when it reaches its limit.
Driver’s attention and fatigue can be also monitored with the use of Fatigue Reminder system that monitors the length of continuous driving, and with the use of Attention Assist system that monitors attention. If the system detects that the driver is sleepy, it will alert and encourage the driver to take a break.
Other groundbreaking safety features introduced and included in modern vehicles nowadays are the following: Alcohol or Drug Ignition Interlock that requires the driver to pass a breath test in order for the vehicle to be driven; Electronic Data Recorder, which records vehicle’s information such as speed and tractions; and Smart Key that can be programmed to set the operating restrictions of the vehicle.