Automakers have improved upon auto safety features by leaps and bounds in the recent years. Initially, the focus was on reducing impact of the crash by designing cars with impact absorbing materials and cocooning their occupants with air bags in case of a crash. Later, it shifted toward use of innovative technologies like ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and Traction Control to be more proactive and avoid crash. Engineers are continuously working to include technologies and safety systems in their vehicles that take a proactive approach towards consumer safety, rather than a reactive one. This pursuit of making cars as safe as possible moved us closer to self driving cars, as now vehicles can monitor their environment through sensors and cameras that warn against possible problems, and in some cases, take corrective action autonomously. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best car safety features deployed in today’s vehicles.
The blind-spot sensors relay warning either in the form of alarm or blinking lights on the dashboard/ side mirrors to notify about the presence of another vehicle in the rear-side of your vehicle when you are about to make a turn by deploying turn indicator/signal. This auto safety feature has been pushed even further by some automakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, as some of their cars actively apply brakes if you try changing the lane regardless of the warnings.
Smart Cruise Control
Also known as Adaptive Cruise Control, this system utilizes sensors in the most ingenious way. This smart/intelligent take on cruise control technology relies on forward mounted sensors that monitor vehicle’s speed along with distance from the car in front. It can make intelligent decisions like emergency braking, based on the data sensors feed to it. That is the reason it’s among the best car safety features and most automakers are deploying it in their vehicles as a standard feature.
Rear View Monitor
A back mounted camera displays image to a screen on dashboard when the vehicle is put in reverse gear. It essentially aids in parking, as the camera covers a wider view compared to traditional back view mirrors. Most of today’s cars offer this safety feature as standard, and it can easily be installed later as well.
Forward Collision Control and Braking
Also known as Forward Collision Warning Alert or Pre-Crash Alert, depending on the make of the vehicle, this auto safety feature deploys Smart Cruise Control’s hardware for actively monitoring distance from obstructions or traffic in front of the car. Different automakers handle warnings differently; some deploy systems that take passive actions like pre-heating brakes to decrease stopping distance and tightening of seat belts, while others actively take control of the vehicle and can deploy brakes. Emergency Brake Assist or Intelligent Brake Assist are few of the names used for these systems.
Lane Departure System
Most beneficial on motorways and highways with clear road markings, this is one of the best car safety features that avoids inadvertent changing of lanes by issuing a warning. A set of camera monitors vehicle’s lane by continuously tracking lanes on highway and nudges if the vehicle departs a lane without a turn signal. Though, this system has the potential of saving lives, it is far from perfect, as it can produce erroneous warnings because of poorly marked roads, weather/less than perfect lighting and sudden turns. Some manufacturers like Volvo have improved upon this system and their vehicles use active steering and braking to keep vehicles on road. Similarly, few high-end models offer dynamic steering adjustment to keep a vehicle centrally aligned within its lane.