Road accidents kill almost 1.2 million people globally every year, but thanks to rapid developments in technology, safety features that have the potential to save thousands of lives worldwide. A host of new acronyms are popping up on new-car specification sheets handed out by salesmen at dealerships across the country, but what does it all mean? How expensive is this technology, and is it really worth it? Certain dealerships can offer specialist advice such as Eastern BMW Edinburgh. Here are some of the biggest new in-car safety technologies that are saving lives across the planet.
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
This has many different names across various car brands, including ‘driving assistant plus,’ ‘active city stop,’ ‘city emergency braking’ and ‘pre-crash safety system’, but it’s essentially the same technology across the board. AEB utilises sensors and cameras installed in the car to predict an oncoming hazard within milliseconds, such as a pedestrian stepping out onto the road or a car ahead that’s suddenly hit their brakes, and will automatically brake. The technology usually works at speeds up to 40-50km/hr and is best suited for city areas.
- Lane-keeping assist (LKA) and lane-departure warning (LDW)
These two features work hand-in-hand to keep your vehicle safely in the correct lane. LDW will alert you if you steer your car out of its lane without indicators or turn signals, using a camera or lasers to monitor lane markers. LKA will then gently steer you back into your lane.
- Adaptive cruise control (ACC)
Cruise control is a long-time feature of advanced cars, but the latest incarnation uses a combination of radar, lasers and cameras to maintain a safe, constant distance between you and the vehicle ahead. If traffic slows, some advanced systems will bring down the car’s speed and then automatically come back up to pace when the traffic dissipates.
- Blind-spot warning (BSW)
This uses a radar or camera to warn you another vehicle is lurking in your blind spot in the lane beside or behind you. Many systems will also chime or beep if you try to move in front of it, and more advanced vehicles will even brake or steer the vehicle back into the centre of the lane if you’re at risk of a collision.
- Parking assist
Another useful tool for the city, as this system uses sensors attached to the front and rear bumpers to guide you into a parking spot and alert you to hazards like walls, poles, the kerb or other parked cars.
These technologies are currently available on the most recent vehicle models, and while there’s a push to make them standard across a vehicle range, they remain an optional extra, or are only included with the high-end models in a line-up. However, the extra cost is worth the increased safety and peace of mind. If you’re considering purchasing a new, safer car, speak to a dealer with a speciality in cars featuring advanced safety features, who will talk with you about what best suits your budget and individual requirements.