For many men and women, driving a car is part of their everyday life. Whether commuting to work, transporting family and friends, or simply just to enjoy the thrill that a car can offer. Because cars have become such a vital part of people’s lives, vehicle manufacturers are taking their safety characteristics more serious than ever.
Back in the day, an automobile was simply made to get from point A to point B. No fancy options included. As cars got faster and there were more and more on the roads, deaths from car accidents increased. With steering wheels that could impale the driver's heart on impact and no safety glass, the injuries were gruesome. Thus, engineers began steadily inventing and refining a plethora of safety devices.
Now automobiles have features to make your drive safe and enjoyable, and some options that you wouldn’t even imagine could be in a car. Let’s look at some things that have improved automobile safety over the years as well as emerging technology.
The most well known piece of equipment is the seat belt. Seat belts had limited use in various forms of transport since 1885. Volvo's Nils Bohlin developed the modern three-point auto seat belt which was introduced in 1959. Seat belts became standard on just about every vehicle in the late 1960s and it is estimated that this simple mechanism has saved millions of lives.
Back in the 1990s, if you started noticing your seat belt getting tighter when you leaned forward, it was probably due to the new pre-tensioning seat belts. (Then again, maybe your seat belt got tighter because of that spare tire around your midsection.) Now most modern vehicles are equipped with systems that alert the motorist to buckle up.
In the late sixties, head rests started appearing in cars. This low-tech apparatus prevents spinal injuries, as well as giving us a place to rest our head. Safety equipment advanced considerably with the SRS (Supplemental Restraint System), better known as airbags. Airbags work with seat belts to save even more lives and prevent injuries. It's pretty amazing that this device can detect a collision and deploy rapidly enough to protect the person sitting in the seat.
The Future of Auto Safety
Seat belts and airbags guard passengers when an accident occurs. But obviously neither of these can prevent a crash. Now automobile manufacturers have invented technology that helps prevent collisions. Many automakers are installing radars, cameras, and sensors in their cars.
Stop Crashes Before They Happen
Lane departure warnings alert car owners when they’re drifting out of their lane and helps move them back into their lane. Blind spot assist helps auto owners know when they have an automobile in their blind spot. Back up cameras permit the auto owner to see what’s behind them when in reverse to help ensure they don’t run over anything or back into something. (We have no excuse now when we back into the garbage can on trash day.) Automatic braking systems can detect an accident before it happens and automatically employ the brakes.
These are just a few of the incredible safety features that are all now possible because of the extensive research and testing that committed automotive engineers continue doing to ensure our safety on the road. Of course, self-driving cars use this advanced technology, but that's a topic for another post.
Proper maintenance is also critical for ultimate auto safety. The auto pros at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair in Falconer can keep your vehicle in ideal condition to ensure many miles of safe driving.