Mar 192018
 

Recent reports have shown although roads are busier than ever before, casualties are at the lowest level on record. The exact reasons for these statistics are not quite known, but the fact vehicles themselves are becoming safer due technology advancements could be a contributing factor.

For example; manufacturers are developing car systems which not only mitigate the effects of a collision, but can prevent the chances of having one altogether. Volvo has even promised no one should be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars by 2020.

With 79 percent of consumers describing car safety as very important, Warranty Direct has put together a guide to the modern safety features keeping us safer on the roads…

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

ABS has become a standard in most cars. It helps prevent car wheels from locking up, so reducing the likelihood of skidding. One of the most dangerous aspects of wheel lock is the loss of steering control, but ABS ensures drivers will be able to steer after an episode of hard braking.

Blind spot monitoring

Blind spot monitoring systems help drivers be more aware of what’s in the adjacent lane to their vehicle. Using a radar system to scan the space around your car, it will use a bright LED light in your side view mirror to visually alert you if another vehicle is in your blind spot.

Airbags

Since 1987, frontal air bags have saved 44,869 lives. Sensors in the car monitor deceleration rates, then fire the airbags to cushion impact. Modern developments include dual-stage airbags which have sensors to generate different responses depending on the seriousness of a collision. These advances reduce the chances of airbag-related injuries.

Seatbelts

Apart from brakes, seatbelts are the oldest safety feature around. According to ROSPA,  tens of thousands of lives are estimated to have been saved in the UK since making the law for wearing seat belts mandatory.

While the overall design hasn’t changed, it continues to evolve. Ford has developed rear inflatable seatbelts for some of its models and in the event of an impact, this innovative technology is designed to minimise the likelihood of injuries.

Dash cams

Dash cams are onboard cameras that continuously record the view of your journey through a vehicle’s windscreen. They can be used to provide video evidence in the event of a road accident. During parking, some dashcams still can capture video evidence if vandalism is detected too.

They have become increasingly popular with motorists in the UK, with dash cam ownership increasing from one to 15 percent in just four years.

Bluetooth devices

Using a hand-held mobile phone or sat nav while driving is illegal and you are four times more likely to be in a collision if you use your phone when driving.

Many cars now come with Bluetooth hands-free calling connectivity to help combat such issues. Once you connect your phone to your car system, Bluetooth allows completely wireless access to calling functions from your phone through your vehicle, via the dash, a control screen, steering-wheel buttons, or voice commands.

It increases car safety as you’ll keep both hands on the wheel and won’t need to look down to dial numbers, hold a handset to your ear, or do things like changing the volume to music.

Child car seats

The law requires all children travelling in any vehicle to use a child car seat until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years old, whichever comes first. With plenty of options to choose from, always speak to an expert to help you decide which are best for your needs and to assist you in correctly fitting the seat to your car.

Most modern family cars now have Isofix connectors built into them, making it easier for fitting baby and child car seats.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

ECS helps drivers avoid loss of control in bends and during emergency steering manoeuvres by reducing the danger of skidding. This has become such an important development in terms of road safety, manufacturers are now required by law to install ESC in all new vehicles.

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Nov 092017
 

When it comes to purchasing a car, safety features are one of the main influences on many buyers’ decisions.

Modern cars are incredibly advanced, even compared to models that are just twenty years old. With further innovations such as fully autonomous vehicles imminent, vehicle safety will take on an even more significant role and be under more scrutiny than ever.

In this post, Warranty Direct highlights some of the key automotive safety regulations and devices, which have allowed manufacturers to develop the technologically advanced models of today.

The early days

The first landmark motorcar was the Ford Model T, produced between 1908 and 1927. However, one of the earliest breakthroughs in car safety came in 1934, when General Motors performed the first ever crash test.

The advent of testing led to several developments through the 1940s which are still used today, such as the padded dashboard, the safety cage and the introduction of disc brakes.

This increased focus on safety led to the UN establishing the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations in 1958, creating an international approach to safety standards.

Major milestones

From airbags to ABS, we catalogue some of the key motoring safety innovations below:

1959 – The 3-point seat belt, first created by Volvo, has been compulsory in every British car produced since 1967, preventing thousands of injuries from accidents every year.

1966 – When anti-lock brakes (ABS) were featured on a production car for the first time, the Jensen FF. The system was adapted from aircraft technology and in 1978 Mercedes developed this further with an electronic system in its S-Class model.

1981 – Although airbags were sold by General Motors in the ‘70s, the Mercedes S-Class of ’81 adopted the system still used today. Airbags are found on all modern cars, even on the outside of some types to protect pedestrians!

1995 Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is now fitted to every car on sale and was again pioneered by the Mercedes S-Class range. By using electronic sensors, braking power on each wheel is balanced to help counteract over or understeering. It is said to have reduced fatal accidents by 25 percent and wet-weather collisions by 32 percent.

1996 Euro NCAP was established and with it came its five-star safety rating, which is created through rigorous testing and provides a standard all new cars are held to. The rating has been updated several times and as of 2014, it’s now a two-tier system.

1998 – Advanced active head restraints first appeared across Saab’s range, which is proven to help prevent or limit back and neck injuries in rear-end collisions.

2005 – Lane departure warning systems first appeared in the Citroën C4, C5 and C6, using infrared sensors to monitor if a driver is moving out of a lane.

2015 – Volvo gives a glimpse of what’s to come, releasing the XC90 which has a ‘City Safety’ package, with advanced pedestrian detection and technology to prevent motorcycle and bicycle collisions.

The future is bright

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is touted as the most important new safety feature, allowing cars to ‘talk’ to each other, avoiding accidents by transmitting information on speed and GPS positions.

Ford Motor Company has previewed driver health monitoring through seat belts and steering wheels equipped with vital statistics notifying a car if it needs to pull over, shut down or alert emergency services.

These are just some of the ways manufacturers are looking to modify and improve future vehicles. Whilst it’s still not clear which features the majority of companies will adopt permanently, it’s obvious these developments could make our cars smarter and safer than ever before.