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Friday, December 21, 2012


Many drivers take car safety for granted, but until you’ve been in an accident or close to danger in a car, you may begin to thank those who have fought and designed for the improvement of car safety levels.
It seems crazy to think that the wearing of seatbelts for UK drivers and front passengers has only been compulsory since 1983, but with the increase of cars on the roads and accompanying increase in accident numbers, manufacturers and road safety organisations are continually striving for ways to improve road safety. 





Some of the more recent technology and gadget developments to improve car safety include:

Auto Emergency Braking

With developments like auto emergency braking (AEB), manufacturers are constantly striving to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians and reduce the number of accidents on the road.
One such system installed into the Volkswagen Up works by projecting invisible 10m laser beams in front of the car. If the beams detect any objects in their way, the car automatically stops. The system only operates at speeds up to 19mph so isn’t aimed at preventing high-speed collisions; instead it hopes to reduce the number of slow speed collisions occurring during traffic jams and at zebra crossings. The system is not sophisticated enough to detect junctions or traffic lights so drivers still need to keep an eye on the road.
Although the Up system only works at low speeds, other versions also work at higher speeds and employ a range of technologies from radar, lidar (laser) or even video technology to detect impending collisions and prepare for an emergency stop. AEB technology is already being utilised by many of the main car manufacturers (Audi, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes), with more set to follow suit as the technology develops.

Pedestrian airbags

This year, the Volvo V40 became the world’s first car to feature a pedestrian airbag and in doing so secured itself the highest ever Euro NCAP crash test result. With Volvo claiming the system is able to reduce pedestrian fatalities by 5% and serious injuries by 14% it looks to be a system that many other manufacturers may begin to look more seriously at.
Again aimed at reducing low speed collisions with pedestrians (those between 12mph and 31mph), the airbag works using seven sensors situated around the front of the car to detect the type of impact in progress. The sensors send information collected to the on-board computer for analysis. If the impact is detected as being a human leg, the system initiates the release of the bonnet hinges via two pyrotechnic charges and simultaneously inflates the airbag to cover the lower edge of the windscreen and the A-pillars (the areas known to cause the most head injuries). Whilst inflating, the airbag also raises the car bonnet by 10cm to create a more absorbent impact area.
The V40 comes fitted with an airbag as standard, though once the system goes off it requires resetting and at a cost of around £500 to do this and an even more pricey replacement bonnet, you may be inclined to drive just that little bit more cautiously.

Mobile phone safety

Although using a mobile phone whilst driving is an offence, motorists continue to use their phone while driving on UK roads every day. Even if drivers are not making a call, texting or checking their phone for updates can cause a distraction and may even result in an accident.
With the advent of smartphones and in particular apps, a market has developed for apps that can help increase the level of safety for smartphone users when out on the road.
There are a whole host of different road safety apps available, from those that can automatically reply to any text message to those that provide simple advice on what to do in the event of an accident and can easily provide you with an accurate location to relay to emergency services.
As technology continues to move forward and car manufacturers are put under pressure to increase safety levels for drivers using their vehicles, the car industry and drivers will begin to see more and more safety features being introduced to everyday vehicles and any lives saved or accidents prevented as a result of the introduction of technology and gadgets can be nothing but welcomed.


Author Bio:Chris Stillwell blogs for car insurance comparison site Confused.com. Chris is still hoping and waiting for the day the hoverboard is introduced as the latest means of personal transport.

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