Most individuals are familiar with modern safety features in automobiles, but what if drivers never had accidents in the first place? Seatbelts, airbags and shatter-proof windshields are some of the many automotive advancements known as passive safety systems that can protect passengers from the bodily harm associated with collisions. While these features have reduced the number of deaths on the road in recent years, manufacturers are now pushing for active safety systems that could theoretically prevent accidents from ever happening, according to a recent CNBC report that highlighted these technologies. Drivers won't want to get rid of their auto insurance just yet, but industry leaders are confident that car crashes will eventually be a thing of the past.
"We have a clear vision of accident-free driving," said Steffen Linkenbach, director of engineering systems and technology for the German automotive supplier Continental AG.
Safety should not have to be out of anyone's price range
While features such as radar, infrared night-vision and heads-up display may seem far off and unaffordable, more manufacturers are including these options previously reserved for luxury models in basic packages for lower-end vehicles. The news source suggested that more manufacturers and government organizations are beginning to view safety as a right instead of a privilege.
For example, CNBC noted that what was once a $2,000 electronic stability control system in the 1990s is now not only a standard feature in all cars on the road, but is a mandatory inclusion by order of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Soon enough, the automatic braking systems and traffic-reactive cruise control found in the 2014 Mercedes S-Class will be available to everyone on the road.
But what about cars from decades ago that show no sign of giving up anytime soon? ConsumerReports recently explored an aftermarket module called the Enhancement Box that can bring older models up to date with modern active safety features, such as collision warnings and pedestrian detection. Another helpful feature is the vibrating feedback warning signal, which alerts drivers to danger by shaking their seats and steering wheels. The system is around $1,000 to install, but could save a distracted driver in a life or death situation.
The future of active safety is certainly reassuring, but vehicles may still suffer the consequences as the result of an accident. Smart drivers should protect their vehicles and wallets by investing in a car insurance policy, even as active safety features become more commonplace.