According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 37,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2017. Furthermore, research has shown that the majority of road accidents are caused by human error. Employers must do what they can to keep their employees safe when acquiring or leasing vehicles for employee use, as well as to reduce business liability of company vehicle accidents.
While there are many things that drivers can do to stay safe on the road, there are many advanced vehicle safety features that have been developed that can help lower driver error rates even further – and make our roads safer for all. Here are six notable examples.
In the United States, front airbags have come as standard on all new vehicles since the late 1990s (1998 for cars and 1999 for light trucks). Many vehicles had airbags even before these dates. Airbags are triggered by sensors that can detect a frontal collision. When a collision occurs, the airbags inflate within a matter of a few milliseconds, lessening (or altogether preventing) the impact of passengers against the car’s dashboard.
Side airbags have also been developed that can protect passengers in side-impact collisions. They are usually small bags that come out from the trim of your door, or from the side of your seatbacks. They are quite effective in protecting the torsos of rear-seated passengers.
Anti-lock Brakes (ABS)
The brakes of older car models would often lock during hard braking, making it difficult if not impossible to steer the vehicle. Antilock braking systems use sensors on each wheel to apply braking power without outright locking the brakes. This can help if, for example, you need to maneuver your car around an obstacle while braking.
If you ‘hit the gas’ and try to quickly accelerate, your wheels can spin on the surface of the road without propelling your car forward. This can happen even with light acceleration if the surface of the road is wet or slippery. Traction control systems ensure that each wheel of your car gets the power it needs to accelerate, without sending any one wheel into a tractionless spin.
Sensors and Cameras
Sensors and cameras provide numerous safety features. Rear sensors can detect pedestrians crossing you from the rear as you reverse; cameras can give you a clear picture of where you are headed whenever you park and back up your vehicle. Side sensors used in blind-spot warning systems (BSWS) can notify you of vehicles or objects in your car’s blind spots to prevent side-swipe or lane-changing accidents.
Lane-Departure and Lane-Keeping Systems
A lane departure system alerts you if you, either intentionally or unintentionally, move your car from one lane to another without turning your turn signal on. Lane-keeping systems help you stay in your lane should you slightly move out of your lane (or too much to one side of your lane) while driving.
Safety Exit Features
Some vehicles can temporarily prevent children from opening the back doors of your vehicle when other vehicles or bicycles are approaching you from behind. When used with blind spot sensors, safety exit features can help prevent unexpected accidents to the rear and from either side of your vehicle.
For your employees and the communities they drive in, investing in vehicles with these features will enhance safety and reduce your potential business liability.