In the past several years, automotive technologies and features have advanced considerably. In fact, the advanced driver-assistance systems already available do an admirable job of reducing accident severity and saving lives. Studies and surveys from J.D. Power, AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have evidence that such features are beneficial.
Mitigating Mistakes With Technology
According to the NHTSA, human error contributes to the vast number of motor vehicle accidents. For example, in 2018, about 900 fewer people were killed in traffic crashes in the United States than in 2017. Notably, Americans drove more miles in 2018 than in 2017, with fatalities still falling by 2.4%.
The various technologies in place are helping to mitigate human error. Offered as standard equipment in new vehicles, the tech gives us a glimpse of what fully autonomous vehicles will be able to do. In the meantime, drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention to their surroundings while driving.
Common Features in Today’s Cars
Here are a few advanced driver-assistance systems that are keeping drivers safe:
- Backup Cameras: Most new cars have backup cameras so drivers can see what’s behind their vehicles when reversing. More advanced systems give a bird’s-eye view of the surroundings, while others are bundled with rear brake assistance to stop the car automatically if the driver doesn’t react quickly.
- Lane-Keeping Assistance: Depending on the vehicle, lane-keeping assistance systems warn drivers when their vehicle is moving out of a lane using audible and/or visual warnings. Advanced versions of this system supply lane-tracing assistance that keeps the vehicle centered in its lane, even when turning corners.
- Blind Spot Monitoring: One of the biggest contributors to car crashes is sideswipes, which can cause one or both drivers to lose control of the vehicle and experience a deadly crash. Blind-spot monitors work via embedded park assist sensors on each side of the car. When a vehicle approaches your vehicle’s blind spot, a warning illuminates in the appropriate side mirror. Advanced systems also include a cross-traffic alert to warn you of any objects in your path when backing up.
- Automatic Emergency Braking: Humans can’t always act fast enough to avoid an accident. But with forward-collision alert and automatic emergency braking in place, sensors detect when a car gets too close to the one in front of them, automatically engaging the brakes if the driver doesn’t heed the earlier warning. Some systems slow the vehicle, while others bring it to a full stop. Certain systems also detect pedestrians and large animals, such as deer, and respond accordingly.
- Adaptive Cruise Control: Cruise control has been available for decades. Adaptive cruise control goes one step further by maintaining a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead. If that vehicle slows, your vehicle slows, too, and only regains its set speed when there’s a safe distance between the two cars. Other systems come to a full stop and then go, like when slowing for a red light and then building speed once the light turns green and traffic moves forward.
While such advanced features are helpful, never rely on technology at the expense of your diligence. They’re nice to have but are no substitute for smart and alert driving.
Check out all the safety products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on advanced driver-assistance systems, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.