Attorney David I. Fuchs
Sep. 26, 2018
While many condemn modern technologies for distracting drivers and increasing the risk of vehicle collisions, some technologies prevent accidents. Many new vehicles come with standard safety equipment or optional add-ons to help prevent crashes with autopilot, auto-braking, lane-keeping, and other features. Safety technologies don’t exist in all models yet. Do your research before buying if you want a vehicle with the most up-to-date safety tech. Explore the following safety features designed to prevent car accidents, available today.
Rear-end collisions are the most common type of vehicle accident. In 2015, crash data reported 556,000 injury and 2,203 fatal rear-end collisions in the U.S. Rear-end collisions accounted for the most property-damage-only crashes – 33.9% with 1,543,000 reported – and the most crashes overall (2,101,000 or 33.4%). Automatic emergency braking (AEB) technology can help prevent rear-end collisions as well as other types of accidents.
AEB technology builds on forward collision warning technology. Collision warning features tell the driver when he or she is about to collide with something, giving the driver time to act. AEB takes safety a step farther by automatically braking to try to avoid a collision. Automatic braking will break for the driver if he or she doesn’t do so in time. Some vehicle technologies will automatically maneuver around the hazard if there is room to do so. Most automakers have voluntarily agreed to make AEB a standard feature by 2022.
All vehicles manufactured after 2012 include electronic stability control (ESC), thanks to a requirement the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) passed. ESC mainly helps to prevent one deadly type of accident – rollovers. In 2015, rollover accidents took 2,823 lives and injured 59,000 other victims. Rollovers can occur when something collides with a vehicle, or when a vehicle strikes an object, that compromises the stability of the car.
ESC is one of the most critical vehicle safety technologies available today. The NHTSA says ESC saved more than 7,000 lives in four years. ESC automatically applies the brakes to increase traction and help prevent vehicles from sliding or skidding out of control. It uses sensors to detect the motion and speed of the vehicle. ESC will apply the brakes on one or more wheels to pull the vehicle back on the road if the car drifts outside its lane. ESC is useful for all vehicles but especially good for preventing rollovers in all vehicles.
Every year, thousands of injuries and deaths occur because of unsafe or improper lane changes. Driver distraction is contributing to the number of merge-related collisions, as more drivers drift in between lanes from failing to watch the road. Driver drowsiness and reckless driving can also cause lane-related accidents. Sideswipe wrecks caused 824 deaths and 104,000 injuries in 2015. Head-on collisions killed 3,278 victims and injured 70,000 others.
A few different lane-keeping safety features are helping prevent these types of crashes. Lane departure warnings can alert the driver with flashing lights, sounds, or steering wheel vibrations when he or she drifts out of the lane. Lane departure assists automatically correct the vehicle to keep it in the proper lane. Blind spot warning technologies use radar to detect vehicles you might not otherwise be able to see.
Angle accidents, or collisions between two vehicles at an angle, are the second-most common, after rear-end collisions. Many vehicles today come with front, rear, and side collision alerts and automatic braking capabilities. These technologies can detect when a vehicle is approaching from the front, rear, or side – while a driver is backing out of a driveway, for example – and automatically apply the brakes to prevent an accident. Make a list of the safety technologies you want in your next vehicle before shopping for a new car to help you make the best decision. The last thing you want to do is get injured and find yourself speaking with a car accident lawyer.