Driving is inherently dangerous, yet we rarely think about how hazardous it can be until we see something we cannot unsee. In the United States alone, there are around 30,000 to 40,000 vehicle fatalities each year. Yet, it is estimated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration that up to 96% of these are caused by human error. They are therefore preventable.
Just a few years ago, the safety features of cars mainly consisted of an airbag, seatbelts, and prayer. However, technological advances, mainly due to the adaptability of wireless networking and smartphone tech, mean that car manufacturer now install impressive safety features as standard. And to make things even better, there are a ton of gadgets you can buy separately that can make all the difference.
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
Although AEB is available for most new cars, it isn’t offered as standard by all manufacturers. The system uses complex sensors and cameras to scan the road for any obstacles and alert you if it detects something. This is useful when you might not be paying attention, a leading cause of road accidents.
The impact of this technology cannot be understated. Without it, you might as well have trusted car accident attorneys on speed dial. This is because, at high speeds, it will automatically brake more responsive than a human, therefore reducing the damage caused by a collision. At lower rates, it almost wholly minimizes the chances of an incident.
Rear View Camera
Almost all vehicles are now fitted with rearview cameras as standard. Still, if your car is older than a couple of years, you may not have one installed. Fortunately, you can purchase one relatively cheaply, and they are straightforward to install. These are useful since the tried and tested mirror method just doesn’t cut it when parking and backing up safely.
A camera gives you the ability to see the entirety of what is behind you. This includes anything on the floor below your mirror’s view. Things such as an object, a pet, or a child playing in the driveway. Additionally, cameras like these also allow you to record your driving journey, so any unfortunate disputes can be quickly resolved using HD video evidence.
The technology used for heads-up displays (HUD) has been around since the 1960s. It was invented for use in fighter jets to aid pilots in seeing important information such as landing instruments right in front of them without looking around the cockpit. Back then, this was expensive and advanced technology for use in multi-million dollar systems. Today it costs less than a meal.
HUDs for cars are straightforward to install. Systems like Timprove T600 work by projecting vital information onto your windscreen, so you don’t need to look down to your dashboard every time you check something. For example, current speed, direction, and voltage for EVs can be configured for display using a HUD. You can also install HUDs that project your phone onto the windscreen, which is helpful for GPS apps, for example.
Infra-Red Night Vision
Of course, IR night vision is nothing new either, yet that too found prominence with the military since it allows you to see in the dark. And although night vision technology is far cheaper than it once was, it is currently only offered by premium car manufacturers such as Audi, Porsche, and BMW. The system works by scanning for heat signatures which help detect incoming hazards such as cyclists or animals on the road.
The information is then relayed to your digital display device to alert you to any obstacles. If your vehicle doesn’t come with such equipment, you can install your own. One of the best life-saving car gadgets is the PathFinder II Driver Vision Enhancement System is an excellent FLIR model. It relays accurate information in full color as if you were looking at a scene during the day rather than standard green systems.
Automatic High Beams
For some reason, some people think their lights should be on full all the time. Unfortunately, high beams can only be used for driving on straight roads or very poor visibility. There’s nothing more annoying than being dazzled by some moron’s high beams coming around a corner at speed. Many unfortunate crashes and incidents are caused by oncoming lights that are way too bright.
Of course, many people might simply forget to switch between their beam settings. To solve this problem, manufacturers such as Volvo install automatic beam switching. Cameras and sensors are used to detect light sources from oncoming traffic. The system knows there is a car in front, and therefore your lights should be dipped.