The thought of turning over a set of car keys to a new teenage driver is enough to make any concerned parent shiver. The reality is it happens everyday, and somehow both parents, and teenagers survive. Truthfully though, vehicles today have definitely advanced in terms of safety, and convenience. Technology has played a substantial role in making our cars safer.
Onboard computers make it possible to scan the road ahead and warn of hazards, slowing traffic, speed limit violations, and even speed traps. Lane departure and collision warning, pedestrian warnings, high-beam control and traffic sign recognition, are standard features on many vehicles today.
Usually cited as a major distraction to drivers, smartphones are also being enlisted to create alert systems. One of the earliest and most extensive driver assistance apps was iOnRoad, now owned by Harman International. Using a smartphone’s built-in camera, the app monitors the car’s speed and distance from the vehicle ahead, sounding a loud alarm if the distance shrinks too quickly or the driver fails to brake sufficiently.
“If you have a teenage driver, the app will allow you to analyze driving habits,” said Alon Atsmon, vice president for technology strategy at Harman. “It can log events, such as tailgating and lane departure warnings, then score his driving compared to other drivers around the world.”
Some technologies are more about convenience than safety. Features such as park assist can just make life easier. Parallel parking is not always easy, but having park assist helps! This handy feature automatically steers your car in and out of parallel parking spaces and into parking bays while you operate the gas pedal and brake. In-vehicle technology works to scan the space around the car to guide it perfectly into place.
Many technologies are designed to protect the vehicle itself. Products such as paint protection film, window tint, and various ceramic coatings can preserve the exterior surface of a vehicle. However, one of the most vulnerable exterior surfaces of a vehicle is the windshield. Technology has once again proven vital in protecting both windshields, and the drivers who sit behind them. Exoshield, a new exterior windshield film being touted as revolutionary, is being installed by Fletch Window Tint, a company located in San Antonio Texas.
According to Kevin Fletcher, partner at Fletch Window Tint, "The film can make your windshield up to six times stronger".
"Cracks and chips in a windshield undermine the integrity of the windshield", according to Fletcher. "This product provides an extra barrier of protection between the driver and the road".
So while the world strives toward perfect machines and technologies that will minimize the dangers of a simple trip to work, school, or the grocery store, the biggest variable in automotive safety is the same now as it was a hundred years ago. The final challenge, as always, is us.