According to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, if all passenger vehicles were equipped with front crash prevention, lane departure warning, blind spot detection and adaptive headlight systems, one in three fatal crashes could be avoided and one in five crashes resulting in an injury could be prevented or mitigated. While it is probably unrealistic to expect all vehicles to have all of these crash avoidance technologies, the study underscores the fact that such technology can help to prevent crashes or reduce their potential for causing serious injuries.
Crash avoidance technologies help drivers to operate a vehicle safely. They monitor a vehicle’s environment through sensors and other devices and warn drivers of potential accidents by sounding a warning or even reducing a vehicle’s speed by automatically applying the brakes. For instance, front crash prevention systems utilize sensors, cameras, radar or light detection and ranging (LIDAR) to detect if a car is too close to the vehicle in front of it. If sensors detect an impending crash, the system may trigger an audible warning or brake the vehicle automatically. Some front crash prevention systems even recognize pedestrians.
Another crash avoidance technology, lane departure warning and prevention, utilizes cameras to track a vehicle’s position within a lane. If the system detects that a car is drifting from a lane, it will alert the driver by either vibrating the seat or steering wheel, or by sounding an alarm. Blind spot detection systems contain sensors on the side of the car that detect vehicles in blind spot areas. The system provides a warning to the driver on or near the sideview mirrors. If the driver starts to make a lane change while a vehicle is in a blind spot, the system will sound an audible warning.
A curve speed warning system also aids in preventing automobile crashes. Curve speed warning utilizes GPS and digital maps to detect dangerous bends in the road. This technology will alert the driver if he or she is approaching a curve too quickly. Fatigue warning systems monitor a driver’s steering as well as his or her eye movements. If the system detects that a driver’s eyes are beginning to close, it will sound an alarm. Finally, adaptive headlights help drivers to navigate dark, curved roads. Based upon the speed of the vehicle and movement of the steering wheel, adaptive headlights turn in the direction of the moving vehicle to illuminate the road.
While there are many other forms of crash avoidance technologies, some of which are still being tested, such systems are proving to be effective ways to reduce accidents or at least minimize their impact. In many cases, however, drivers must interact effectively with the technology in order for it to work. For instance, if a driver disables or ignores a system because he or she finds its alerts to be annoying, then the technology won’t help to reduce crashes.
Many years ago, safety features such as seat belts were introduced into new vehicles at the time to made driving safer. In the future, certain crash avoidance systems will likely became standard features in new vehicles in order to reduce fatalities and injuries on the road.
More information on crash avoidance technology can be found here, on the Institute for Highway Safety website.
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