From the invention of the wheel to the invention of the Internet, technology has changed the way we live in endless ways.
One of the greatest innovations in modern history came when automobile was invented in the 19th century.
However, while automobiles have helped to make our lives easier, they have also caused certain safety issues. In fact, auto accident consistently rank at or near the top when it comes to leading causes of death in America.
The dangers of auto accidents have led many car companies to look at how technology can be used to prevent crashes from even occurring in the first place.
In this article, we examine the main causes of auto accidents and how new forms of technology may be able to help us avoid those accidents.
Why Do Car Accidents Happen?
A car accident can happen for a number of different reasons. However, there are certain factors which are known to cause car accidents more often than others.
It is estimated that approximately 90% of all vehicle crashes are caused at least in part by human error, according to research from Stanford University.
Human error can be defined as a deviation from one’s intention. In this case, human error causes drivers to crash their vehicles when they do not intend to or desire to.
Some examples of human error which often lead to auto accidents include:
- Texting while driving
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Excessive speed
- Intoxicated driving
Unfortunately, auto accidents can result in serious injuries and in many cases fatalities, for the passengers involved. As a result, many solutions have been developed in recent years which aim to reduce the number of accidents caused by human error.
Technology: A Route To Safer Roads
Technology has is often used as a way to reduce hazards in our day-to-day lives and improve our overall safety.
Seat-belts and airbags are two great example of how technology can be used to reduce the risk of injury after an auto accident. There are many other examples of safety solutions in our cars and on our roadways today.
A strip of treads, for example, is often carved out on the side of highway lanes as a way to alert drivers that have drifted out of the lane due to fatigue or some other reason (see photo).
3 Modern Roadway Safety Solutions
Auto-braking technology – or front crash prevention – uses a variety of sensors including lights and cameras, to detect shapes as well as other factors which can help determine an object’s proximity to the front of a vehicle.
When an object is sensed as too close, or is approaching too fast, the vehicle automatically applies the brakes. While auto-braking technology does not prevent all crashes, it has been shown to prevent many accidents. Additionally, this technology can reduce the damages incurred to a vehicle and its passengers in the event of an accident.
2.) Drowsy Driver Detection
Fatigued driving is a leading cause of auto accidents on our roadways. In fact, fatigued driving is responsible for at least 100,000 accidents in the US each year, according to a conservative estimate from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
As a result, several solutions have been developed to prevent or reduce these accidents throughout America.
Driver drowsiness detection is a type of technology that detects a driver’s level of fatigue and alerts the driver if drowsiness is detected.
Fatigued driving can be detected in a variety of ways including through eye motion, head motion, steering patterns and even heart rate.
Two systems which currently incorporate this type of technology are Audi’s Rest Recommendation System and Mercedes-Benz’s Attention Assist.
3.) Blind Spot Monitoring
A blind spot is an area around a vehicle that is difficult to see from the driver’s seat. Blind spots are a common cause of car crashes on highways and other multi-lane roads.
In response to the potential hazards caused by blind spots, many companies have implemented blind spot monitoring and assistance technology in newer models of their vehicles.
These systems use various sensors to monitor the known blind spots surrounding a particular vehicle and alert drivers if a vehicle or object is present in the blind spot.
The alert is typically a small light in the side mirror and can also be accompanied by an audible warning. Additionally, some systems actually assist the driver by preventing them from switching lanes.
Driverless Cars: A Vision of The Future
Driverless automobiles already exist on our roads today. The most well-known example is Google’s driverless car, which has been continually tested on public roadways since 2012.
However, many car companies are working their own prototypes of what is expected to be the car of the future in America.
In the meantime, companies continue to create new technologies to help avoid accidents and reduce damages in the unfortunate event of an accident.