Cutting-Edge Safety Technology Will Save Lives

cutting edge safety Brickell MotorsWhen we think about the evolution of automobiles, we often look at changes in performance like increases in horsepower or sleeker and more aerodynamic designs.  Yet when I look at the major changes in the car industry, what jumps off the page at me are dramatic shifts in vehicle safety.  Today’s vehicles are light-years ahead of the past, and frankly, I think they’re only going to get better and better.

Some of these changes are coming so fast that cars built today are remarkably safer than cars built just a few years ago.  I’m always interested in selling our clients newer, more-modern cars, but you are almost doing a disservice to yourself and your family if you don’t upgrade your car to a newer car, particularly if you are driving a car more than five or six years old.

Safety comes in different forms.  We have developments in safety that can prevent small scale problems, like low speed accidents that damage the car but not the occupants, as well as safety updates that enable drivers and their passengers to walk away from accidents that would be considered fatal a few decades ago.

The major manufacturers are in constant competition, so when one comes out with something really great, it trickles down to every car.  We saw this when anti-lock brakes first came out and more recently with rear-view cameras.  Soon we will see even more standard safety features that will one day make accidents a thing of the past.  Here are a few of the features which you should be considering when you purchase or lease your next new vehicle:

Adaptive cruise control.   Using lasers, radar and cameras, or a combination, the system automatically keeps your car a safe distance from the car in front of you.  The car slows down if traffic gets heavier and then brings you back up to your cruising speed when traffic lightens up.

Forward-collision warning and automatic emergency breaking.  Forward-collision warning alerts a driver, both visually and audibly, about a potential collision.  Automatic emergency braking takes this one step further and actually applies the breaks to prevent a collision or reduce the collision speed.

Lane warnings. Lane warning technology uses cameras and other technology to prevent problems association with leaving your lane.  Lane departure warning alerts the driver when they are crossing lane markings.  Lane keeping assist will automatically correct steering or apply the brakes if you depart your lane.  Lane-centering assist continually monitors the car and makes adjustments so the vehicle stays in its lane.

Blind spot warning.  This technology detects a car in your blind spot and warns you when you put on your turn signal to move into the lane with a car in the blind area.

Pedestrian detection. The system can detect when pedestrians enter the roadway and issue a warning and trigger automatic emergency braking.

Rear cross-traffic warning and rear automatic emergency braking. The system monitors your  surroundings when you put the car in reverse.  Rear cross-traffic warning will notify you if you may be backing into something approaching you, and rear automatic emergency braking will automatically hit the brakes in such a situation.

While these features are widely available across many manufacturers and models, other new technology is still emerging and may only be available on a few select vehicles.

For example, Honda’s Driver Attention Monitor continually monitors and assesses driver behavior behind the wheel to help determine if the driver is becoming inattentive – and then if so, warns the driver to take a break.

Audi’s vehicle exit assist can help prevent incidents with a side assist warning light, which blinks and helps alert the driver when vehicles or cyclists are approaching from behind as the vehicle doors are opened.

Volvo, with a nod to safety concerns in Scandinavia, offers a system that detects large animals in the road and then applies the brakes if necessary.  The company even crash-tested the system with an artificial moose.  Hitting a moose going 70 mph is no joke, even if might not be the sort of thing we often experience in the United States.

And with perhaps one of the coolest pieces of technology since the airbag, Audi has launched Audi Pre Sense Side in its new A8.  If the car is going to get hit on the side, before the impact and in hundredths of a second, it will raise itself so the crash impact hits the strongest part of the car before it hits the door.  The car “braces for the impact.” Here’s more from the Audi website:

In an impending lateral collision at more than 15.5 mph, the suspension actuators of the optional Audi AI active suspension raise the body on the side exposed to the danger by up to 3.1 inches within half a second. The other vehicle therefore hits the car in an even more impact-resistant zone. The side sills and floor structure accommodate a large portion of the impact forces. Deformation of the cabin and the loads acting on the occupants, above all to the chest and abdomen areas, are reduced by up to 50 percent compared with a lateral collision with no raising of the suspension.

New safety technology will have widespread impact on the car industry.  It will reduce accidents, large and small, and lower insurance rates.  While new safety features add cost to a car, these incredible advancements are well-worth it because they will ultimately save lives.


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