New technology is saving lives, but you might not have heard about it. Part of the reason is because a lot of the new technologies involved aren’t as flashy as Tesla’s autopilot or the full automation that Google and Uber are beginning to employ in new vehicles. A chief research officer at the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, David Zuby, thinks that these systems might do more to prevent injuries and deaths than seatbelts or airbags ever could. Here are a few of the newest systems.
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This system is now mandatory in Canada because it helps stop out of control vehicles even in inclement weather. ESC slashes engine power and brakes individual wheels one at a time rather than all at once. The technology has resulted in a nearly 50 percent fatality rate reduction since it was implemented.
- Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). This system can prevent the common fender bender, which we’ve probably all experienced at least once by the time we’re a few decades old. They’re the most common type of car accident, but AEB prevents nearly half of them from occurring. When it fails, it still blunts the impact enough to slash injury rate by another half.
- Blind Spot Warning. Most newer cars will alert you when another vehicle enters your blind spot. The warning light usually flashes red on your side mirrors. Other blind spot warning systems will send a vibration through your steering wheel when a car is detected–but only if you’re trying to make a lane change. The technology cuts accidents by about 14 percent.
- Other Warnings. Some vehicles will let you know when your car is drifting out of its lane by vibrating the steering wheel or flashing a light. Some will automatically steer you back into the right lane. Other systems will alert the driver when another car is to the side or behind them when backing out of a parking space.
While these new systems certainly help reduce the number of dangers we face on the streets, they don’t eliminate them. In fact, there is some evidence that suggests some drivers will drive more recklessly because of these new safety systems. Be wary while on the road!