The majority of motor vehicle crashes are caused by human error, both from drivers and pedestrians. Fortunately, car companies are working to reduce the number of incidents with new driver-assistance technologies. Driver-assistance technologies are automated features built into newer car models to aid people in driving more safely.
Making our lives easier, safer
Even the best drivers aren’t perfect. Driver-assistance technologies can make our lives a little bit less stressful and a lot safer. For example, in older model cars, if the vehicle in front of you suddenly slows down, it is up to you to react in time and apply your brakes quickly. Now, adaptive cruise control can react automatically and slow your vehicle to a good, safe speed and stop you from having to slam on the brakes for dear life.
Of course, it should be noted that features such as adaptive cruise control are driver-assistance systems, not self-driving cars. The driver must always be alert when driving cars equipped with these technologies. They do help considerably but cannot do all the driving for you.
Here is a sample of just a few driver-assistance technologies now available:
- Automatic emergency braking — your brakes activate automatically when a forward crash is about to happen.
- Adaptive lighting — your headlights go dimmer when a vehicle is detected driving toward you, and back up to full brightness when it has passed.
- Rearview video camera — a screen on the dashboard that displays video of the immediate area behind your car as you back up.
- Rear cross-traffic alert — warns you of oncoming vehicles that are not yet visible from the rearview camera.
- Lane-keeping assist — gentle, automatic steering wheel corrections to keep you from driving over lane markings.
- Blind-spot detection — detects vehicles located in your car’s rear blind spots.
- Adaptive cruise control — cruise control that adjusts your speed to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a good review of these technologies and more.
Safer driving, fewer accidents
The types of driver-assistance technologies are numerous, as this small sampling indicates. In fact, your current vehicle may already have some of this tech, so be sure to read your owner’s manual in order to use your car’s safety technology to its fullest extent. Let your car do what is was designed to do — help you drive more safely.
Driver-assistance technologies are redefining road safety. Reducing human error means fewer incidents and casualties, creating a safer road for everyone. And while no one should expect these systems to do all the work and protect them from all potential incidents (full attention is still required!) they can sure help.