Safety is not only affordable, but it’s paving the road to the future
Technological thirst for driverless cars ultimately results in safer roads today
The future as imagined in ‘Back to the Future’ is not here yet, but we are certainly driving towards it. From eco-friendly fuel alternatives to self-driving cars, the sky is literally the limit.
Well on the way to autonomous driving, car manufacturers are developing and incorporating safety features with their eyes directed at a driverless future.
The bright minds behind car safety are still dreaming of the day that drivers can make phone calls or even watch a movie instead of placing their full attention to the traffic and their surroundings. However, at this point in time, no safety feature or automatic driving assistant can substitute a driver’s ability to conduct a vehicle in a safe manner.
What started with a simple distance detector at the rear bumper, escalated to multi-cameras, self-parking and active cruise control. The safety technologies built into cars available today already look like they’ve come from a sci-fi movie.
The safety of drivers and passengers is a high priority, as it should be. The average annual number of serious injuries on Tasmanian roads is 276.9 and the average number of fatalities about 37 people per year, according to the Department of State Growth.
In 2016, South Australia registered 6,565 casualties in total – including non-serious injuries, serious injuries and fatalities – based on the South Australian Government Data Directory. If we compare the data between both states, Tasmania has 0.1 percent more serious injuries and deaths per capita. While this doesn’t look like a large number in a percentage, if Tasmania were to have the same population as SA, this would be huge – an additional 2,000 people seriously injured or killed in car accidents.
New safety features are not only keeping people inside a vehicle safe, but also other drivers, pedestrians and wildlife. The goal is to make driving safe before, during and after your drive.
The best way to start talking about safety is with prevention and to prevent accidents drivers must pay full attention to the road, adapt to traffic and weather conditions, look out for pedestrians and ultimately predict the unpredictable. However, with the excessive amount of information to be processed, along with the many distractions of daily life, any help that we can get from our fourwheeled friend is more than welcome. How do we prevent the unpredictable if we are not clairvoyants? Imagine that the car in front of you suddenly brakes, or that a child or animal jumps in front of your car, leaving you no time to stop? To prevent a potential tragedy, car manufacturers are beginning to include sensors that can “sense” when the vehicle in front of you brakes, or if you are heading towards any sort of collision. If you can’t react fast enough, your car will do it for you.
Another major cause of traffic accidents is the dreaded blind spot. You check your mirrors, rear-view and side, you turn your head for a quick check and still you miss the vehicle approaching on your side. Today, new cars come with blind spot monitors to help you change lanes, meaning you’ll never get that beep and angry glare again.
If you don’t mean to change lanes but your car is unintentionally drifting away, the lane-keep assistant will warn you and even gently move your steering wheel to gain your attention. The audible and visual alerts that come with fresh-from-the factory models, can provide drivers with all the warnings they need to decrease human error and prevent road accidents.
Not only new cars are safe
According to the Department of State Growth’s website, if every car owner had the safest vehicle of its class, road trauma involving light vehicles could be reduced by 26 percent. But what makes a car safe?
In a collision, different cars offer different levels of protection. And different brands offer different safety features in their cars. There’s no doubt that a car with more safety features will offer you the best protection in case of an accident.
There’s good news for those of us who haven’t quite made it to that brand-new car smell. Although we have been talking about the latest technology available in new vehicles, you don’t have to have a new car to be considered safe.
Young drivers and people living on a budget are more likely to buy used cars. However, the age of the car does not mean a car is unsafe, as many older models comply with mandatory safety regulations.
Most car dealers have a detailed history of a car and thoroughly inspect a vehicle before selling it on. They also often offer warranties on important parts of a vehicle and all that you need to do is make sure the safety features are exactly what you’re looking for. Features like Anti-Lock Braking System, Electronic Stability Control and airbags are important for personal protection and to avoid collisions. And of course, seatbelts are vital in preventing injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. Always make sure that seatbelts are in proper working condition before driving or purchasing a car.
If you don’t know where to go for a vehicle safety check you can visit ANCAP’s website and search for the Safety Ratings related to the model you have in mind. ANCAP – the Australasian New Car Assessment Program – is Australasia’s leading independent vehicle safety advocate. They provide you with safety information for not only drivers but also pedestrians and other road users.
The road to the future is being paved by the safety industry. Both car manufacturers and regulatory bodies are working to prevent any road-related casualties. Tasmania started its road safety campaign “Towards Zero” with the goal of zero fatalities on the states roads. Meanwhile, the automotive industry keeps working towards a car that will drive itself, allowing you to take that extended nap before your very important meeting. Until that day comes, you’ll still have to do your own research to find the perfect car.