While the idea of vehicles that can drive themselves is still well off in the future, other types of technology have emerged that could dramatically reduce car accidents. Naturally, car accidents will still heavily rely on motorists, how they interact with their vehicles, and the quality of the technology.
However, new forms of technology are proving to be effective at reducing the number of accidents, especially those everyday accidents that can lead to serious injuries and damages.
What Technology Might Prevent Accidents?
New technology emerges every day, and that technology is constantly improving. Today, motorists have several options that come standard with their vehicles, or that they can add on to increase their vehicle’s safety.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive cruise control is not new, but over the past few years it has received upgrades to make it much more effective. When you are driving on the highway, your adaptive cruise maintains speeds so that you can shift your position. In most cases, the adaptive cruise control can change your vehicle speed to that of the vehicle leading, so that you do not accidentally rear-end the leading vehicle.
While helpful, adaptive cruise control does have its faults. For starters, if the vehicle in front of you slows down, the cruise will not stop or slow your vehicle. Also, when you go around curves or you are driving on wet, slick roads, the cruise control will not adapt properly for all vehicles.
Most importantly, you cannot fully rely on your adaptive cruise control to prevent an accident. Instead, you still need to pay attention to the road and have your foot ready to take over on acceleration or braking.
Lane Departure Warning Systems
A relatively new technology that has started to come standard with vehicles is the lane departure warning system. When drifting out of your lane, the system notifies you with beeping or a light so that you know to get back into your lane.
It uses a series of cameras on the vehicle to determine where you are and if you are drifting in the wrong direction. On long drives or when you are becoming drowsy, it could make a dramatic impact on how safe you are on the road.
If your vehicle is starting to skid out of control, your heavier vehicle could flip over and roll on the highway. Rollover accidents can be catastrophic. To avoid these tragedies, automobile manufacturers started releasing their active rollover protection (ARP) systems.
ARP comes on when your vehicle is about to roll over, and your car detects when a rollover is possible. To avoid it, your vehicle slows and brakes to mitigate the rollover. While rollovers are rare today, they still occur in three percent of fatal accidents in the country; therefore, this type of technology could still save a life.
Emergency Braking Assistance Programs
Rear-end collisions are not only common, but could lead to serious, long-term injuries. Especially when those rear-end accidents occur at high speeds.
Most drivers are not exactly the best at stopping. People are slow, and some are too distracted to realize that they need to apply the brakes. That is why more manufacturers started using the emergency brake assist features. These help drivers apply braking in emergency situations, and can reduce the damage if the two vehicles still collided. In some cases, the system can prevent the collision entirely.
Collision Avoidance System
Like the emergency braking assistance programs, the collision avoidance system works to prevent a vehicle from running into an obstacle. These systems may include a warning, while others automatically apply the brakes and stop the vehicle so that it does not hit the vehicle or object in front of it.
The avoidance systems are adaptive and typically use a combination of sensors and cameras to help your vehicle avoid obstacles, including pedestrians, cars, fixed objects, and so forth. Some systems are so adaptive that they steer away from the object, while others simply apply the brakes to avoid a collision.
Most drivers do not think much about their headlights, but should. Headlamps are what ensure a vehicle is seen even during the day, but also improves visibility at night. Adaptive headlights were created to turn along with the vehicle as the steering wheel moves. This ensures drivers can see around dark corners.
Also, the headlights automatically rotating has been seen to reduce accidents by 10 percent, according to the research done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Screening for Alcohol
A person convicted of a DUI is typically required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle. To start the engine, that person must then breathe into the system and no alcohol can register on their breath. If the alcohol does register on the breath, the ignition will not turn over.
Likewise, some manufacturers are working on a touch device that would screen for alcohol when the driver touches the button. Alcohol levels would be measured under the skin’s surface with an infrared scanner to determine the level of alcohol in the blood. While this technology is still several years away, it may be a way to prevent drunk driving accidents from occurring.
Electronic Stability Control
Electronic stability control is a system that slows individual wheels when the vehicle is turning to keep the car on course. It prevents wheels from losing control even in slippery or icy conditions.
Active Parking Assist
Parking a vehicle can lead to accidents with other vehicles and objects fixed in parking stalls. Also, backing up a vehicle into a parking spot could result in pedestrian-automobile collisions. Today, more vehicles have active parking assist, which helps the vehicle parallel park. Some will even automatically park the vehicle without the driver touching the steering wheel.
360-Degree Rear-View Cameras
When backing up the vehicle or trying to park, you want to see from all angles, especially if pulling out of a driveway or in a neighborhood with small children. These cameras see not only from the rear, but extend outward so motorists can see anyone walking up to the rear of their vehicle and notify the driver with a warning alarm on the dashboard.
Today, drowsy driving is quickly becoming a hazard. Therefore, some vehicles are now including a drowsiness alert system, which tells drivers that they should take a break based on vehicle and driver data.
Self-driving technology is starting to emerge, but not all vehicles will be fully automatic or drive themselves. These vehicles still require that a driver is in the driver’s seat and paying attention. With the autopilot technology, a self-driving vehicle uses 360-degree sensors to let the car pilot itself.
However, some vehicles with this technology have already shown their flaws, such as the recent case where a self-driving Tesla vehicle caused an accident. There was also the report about a Google vehicle that was in its first at-fault accident because it switched lanes to avoid hitting an object, but struck another car in the process.
Technology Only Goes So Far
While there is a plethora of technology out there that will protect drivers and those on the road with them, that does not mean that these features alone will stop all motor vehicle accidents in the United States. In fact, it is still up to the motorist to drive safely, be aware of his or her surroundings, and be conscious on the road.
What Technology is Ideal for Motorists?
The array of safety features is overwhelming for those out shopping for a new vehicle, especially because of the price tag that comes with these innovations. However, there are certain features that are better based on the type of driver. For example:
- Drivers with mobility challenges. These drivers may enjoy lane departure warnings and blind-spot monitoring systems on their vehicle.
- New drivers, such as teens. These drivers could use electronic stability controls, brake controls, adaptive cruise systems, and forward collision avoidance technology to prevent accidents.
- Nighttime drivers. Drivers who operate their vehicle mostly at night are at high risk for serious accidents, which is why they may benefit from the adaptive headlights and drowsiness alert systems.
Injured in a Serious Motor Vehicle Accident? Speak with an Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was involved in a catastrophic motor vehicle accident caused by someone’s negligence, speak with an attorney from Malman Law today. Our attorneys are here to assist you with your case and we will not rest until you receive compensation for your injuries.
Speak with an advocate today to explore your options by calling us toll-free at 888-247-2160 or request more information online.