Tens of thousands of people die in roadway accidents every year. In 2018, there were nearly 1.9 million vehicle crashes that led to injuries. Traffic accidents are also a leading cause of death in the U.S. for people between the ages of 1 and 54.
The high risks involved in driving have led car manufacturers and legislators to work to reduce roadway accidents.
One way this is being done is with the addition of new car safety features.
One general category of car safety features is called driver assistance technology.
If you’re in the market for a new car, the following are some things to know about this technology and the features it can include.
An Overview of Driver Assistance Technology
Driver assistance technology is meant to keep drivers and their passengers safe, as well as other vehicles and pedestrians. There are systems designed to provide warnings if you’re at risk of being in a crash, and then there are even more advanced systems that can help you avoid a crash.
These systems are electronic, and they use automated technology like cameras and sensors to detect obstacles and driver error.
The overwhelming majority of all roadway accidents are the result of human error.
The objective of driver assistance systems is to automate and enhance car systems for improved driving. They can help reduce deaths and injuries by reducing human errors.
There’s the potential the technology will become even more advanced in the coming years and could include what’s called Intelligent Transport Systems, which are integrated with the infrastructure of a city. This would create a smart city and make roadways more efficient.
It’s important to note that driver assistance technology is not the same as driverless cars. As it currently stands, the driver shares responsibilities with the technology, which will likely remain for the foreseeable future.
Types of Driver Assistance Technology
While certainly not exhaustive, the following are some examples of driver assistance technology that are even coming standard in newer cars.
Front Crash Prevention
Front crash prevention systems use different types of sensors that can include radars, light detection, and cameras to determine when your vehicle is getting too close to the one in front of it. These systems will provide a warning, and in some cases, the system may begin getting the brakes ready. If you don’t respond to the warnings, then automatic braking may be activated.
Twenty automakers have vowed to make these features standard by 2022.
Lane Departure Warning and Prevention
Lane departure warning and prevention features utilize cameras to make sure your vehicle stays in its lane. Then the driver is alerted if there’s the possibility of the vehicle going across lane markings without the activation of the turn signal.
These systems might use warnings to let drivers know they’re going out of their lanes, such as a seat vibration or a vibration of the steering wheel.
Some systems will prevent the car from moving out of the lane or help the car get back in the lane with steering or brake adjustments.
Blindspot detection in driver assistance technology will provide in most cases a visual alert near the side mirrors if there’s a detected vehicle. Some systems will use an auditory alert if you’re signaling a turn as the driver and there’s a vehicle in your blind spot.
Blindspot detection can reduce crashes resulting from lane changes by up to 14% according to current research.
Rear Crash Prevention
Rearview cameras can show you what’s behind you as you’re backing up, and they give you a larger field of vision than you would get from mirrors alone.
Some systems use ultrasonic sensors or radars and they will warn you if there’s something in your way when you reverse. There are also systems with automatic rear braking so the brakes will be automatically applied if needed to prevent a vehicle from backing into or over an object.
There’s something called a rear cross-traffic alert system that can detect when vehicles are approaching from either side that could cross your path as you’re backing up.
Automation is a general term used to describe some driver assistance features. One specific type of automation is adaptive cruise control. Adaptive cruise control will keep adjusting the speed of your vehicle to maintain a specific minimum following distance. There’s also automatic braking, which will serve as a backup for you if you don’t brake.