Advancements in Car Tech that Are Boosting Road Safety

August 21, 2019 By Mike
Last updated on August 21, 2019

We all know that road safety is vital – yet accidents continue to occur across the UK every day. While government reforms implemented last month will hopefully reduce the number of collisions on British roads, so could advancements in car technology. So, just what are these features? And how do they protect drivers?

1. Adaptive Headlights

Adaptive headlights can greatly enhance road safety. Made to redirect the beams of headlights to match the direction that your vehicle is travelling in, it brightens areas that would otherwise not be visible, such as narrow or winding roads.

Cars installed with this feature also tend to be safer for other road users, as their headlights are designed not to point directly at oncoming traffic as it approaches. But just how effective are they at keeping road users safe?

Recent research carried out by the AAA (American Automobile Association) has revealed that when compared with the U.S. (where federal standards don’t accommodate this tech), European vehicles with adaptive headlights help to increase roadway lighting by up to 86%. So, it’s likely that these cars are helping to lower the potential for car crashes on our continent.

2. Assistive Emergency Braking

Autonomous Emergency Braking is a massive breakthrough in road safety technology. As its name suggests, it’s a safety system that allows vehicles to reduce speed without the driver’s input when they recognise the potential for an accident. If the driver doesn’t apply the brakes quickly enough, the car will.

Though systems can vary, almost all are engineered to follow the same idea: they use light detection and camera sensors to detect triggers for a collision. Along with data on a car’s travel speed and trajectory, the information it records is analysed by the system to determine whether a hazard is likely or not.

If it is, it will first warn the driver, giving them the opportunity to respond accordingly. However, if the road user doesn’t take action – and the AEB system deems it necessary – the brakes will be applied automatically. Since its introduction, many experts have praised its efficacy – Thatcham, a research centre that focuses on road safety, has predicted that it could save over 1000 British lives over the next decade.

3. Lane departure warning systems

You may have already heard of lane departure warning systems – in fact, chances are that your own car contains one. Using forward-facing cameras, it monitors the lane lines around a vehicle to warn drivers against going outside of markings within their current lane. They provide visual, audible and often tactile warnings – such as steering wheel and seat vibrations – to ensure that you don’t encroach on adjacent road lanes. Though of course, if you’re intentionally changing lanes and have activated your turning signal, it won’t provide warning alerts.

Whiplash prevention

Affecting hundreds of Brits every day, whiplash is a common injury suffered by drivers. Typically caused by the sudden movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways, it’s mostly linked with car collisions. Luckily, cars are being engineered to prevent this issue from occurring.

One useful feature is Active Headrest Restraint, which is essentially where the headrest pillow automatically readjusts to reduce the distance that your head moves during an accident, in order to lower the likelihood of whiplash injury. While this is a helpful feature, there are things you can do yourself to prevent this problem.

For example, you could try to adjust your headrest appropriately whenever you get into a car. To do this, simply set the incline of your seat to approximately 20 degrees past vertical, position the headrest so that the top of the restraint is level with the top of your head, and then make sure that the rest is no further than 5cm from the back of your head.

If you think at any point during your driving career that you’ve suffered from whiplash, don’t hesitate to call your GP immediately. Similarly, for trustworthy advice on whiplash claims, seek a specialist.

Car technology is constantly improving – who knows what the future holds for road users? It may bring safer vehicles for us all.