Although roads are becoming busier everyday, they’re also getting safer and less dangerous. New technology is transforming the way we drive and injury statistics are expected to continuing falling as existing technology is refined and new technologies are incorporated in more vehicles. Here are five of the best technologies making our roads safer to travel on.
Most drivers have to deal with wet, snowy or icy roads on occasion, and every road is susceptible to contaminants, such as oil, that can cause cars to lose traction and veer into dangerous spots. Antilock brakes are a revolutionary technology that prevent tires from locking up, and today’s traction control systems are even better at keeping tires connected to the road even under hard braking or when experiencing strong lateral force.
Major automakers are investing heavily into driver assistance technology. Adaptive cruise control, especially when combined with lane-keeping assistance, makes highway driving far safer. Lane departure warning prevents distracted drivers from drifting into other lanes, and blind-spot warning lets drivers know when it’s safe to change lanes without risk of side-swiping accidents.
Driver and passenger airbags have been credited with revolutionizing car safety. Today, it’s common for vehicles to also have side-curtain airbags to protect against side impacts for people both in the front and rear of the car. Furthermore, many vehicles now offer knee and leg airbags, helping drivers walk away from crashes instead of suffering leg injuries.
In-car screens and cameras are now standard features for many vehicles. Rear-facing cameras let drivers back out of parking spaces more safely and eliminate blind spots where children could be playing. Front-facing cameras give a great overview, especially when combined with night-vision technology. Parking lots can be dangerous places, and stationary cameras placed here are making them safer.
Distractions are a common cause of car accidents and any technology that helps drivers focus on the road can help. Navigation systems, which are available in many vehicles and standard on smartphones, let drivers keep their eyes on the road instead of looking for road signs and potentially pulling out a map. Turn-by-turn directions relieve stress when driving in unfamiliar places, helping drivers stay relaxed and alert. Many smartphones today also have options to turn off notifications and pings when driving, limiting phone-related distractions as well.
Self-driving cars are expected to come out in the coming years, but none are available yet. There will probably be a long transition phase before all vehicles drive themselves. In the meantime, new technology will continue to make driving safer, and refinements to existing technology will result in fewer and fewer car accidents.