The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is studying five safety systems that are standard on most luxury vehicles. Each safety feature pinpoints a potential traffic hazard. The IIHS said frontal crashes account for 40% of all crashes on U.S. roads each year, or about 2.3 million. Of those, 7,100 are fatal. In response, engineers have developed:
Collision-warning systems alert drivers of a crash with alarms, flashing lights, tightening seat belts or brake application.
Lane-departure warning systems detect a motorist changing lanes unintentionally, such as when the turn signal isn’t used. The system alerts the driver by vibrating the steering wheel, sounding an alarm or sending out a visual warning. The IIHS said these systems could prevent some of the 483,000 collisions and sideswipes caused each year when drivers swerve out of their lanes or change lanes without using their turn signal. Such accidents cause 10,300 deaths per year.
Adaptive headlights rotate into the direction the car is moving. Emergency brake assistance detects panic braking and alters the brake pedal pressure applied by the motorist. Those systems together could prevent 1.1 million total crashes, but the crashes are not as deadly, the study said. Blind-spot detection systems would also use audible or visual warnings to alert a driver who changes lanes and is unable to see a motorist in his or her “blind spot” of vision, according to the AP.
IIHS reminded motorists not all accidents are preventable by safety systems. With new self-driving vehicles, it remains to be seen how effective these new technologies will be operating independently without human intervention. It also said such safety systems are not equipped on enough vehicles to make a comprehensive safety evaluation on all vehicle models. The Associated Press said Volvo is the only automaker which installs all five safety measures on some of its models.