Car Safety Features that can Save Your Life

In 2015, auto manufacturers broke a record by selling 17.5 million cars and light trucks, a 5.7 percent increase over the 2014 numbers. That means that millions of families not only shopped for a new vehicle but they made the decision to purchase one for any number of reasons. In addition to the new cars that made their way into American homes, used cars were also sold and although those numbers are difficult to conclude, officials believe that 42 million used cars were bought and sold in 2014.

Perhaps you were one of the millions of Americans that traded in your ride for something new, or perhaps you are considering doing so in the near future. Whatever your position in life is right now, it is possible that you will need a vehicle to help you get around at some point soon. If you will be buying a car, truck, or SUV, it is important to keep in mind that in addition to the aesthetics of a vehicle and its comfort, the safety features offered by that car should be considered.

The technology boom of recent years has flowed into automobile manufacturing and the results have created several new features that may save your life or prevent a car accident if you happen to drive in the Chicago area. Among these features are:

  • Head-Up Display: In a traditional vehicle, all the relevant information conveyed by a dash board remained stationary and it its place – on the dash. But that meant that drivers had to look down to understand important stuff like how much gasoline was left in the tank and whether their engine was running hot. An evolution in displayed information has taken the form of a head-up display, a system where the same traditional information is projected onto the bottom of a windshield. This enables a driver to be fully informed about her car without the need to take her eyes off the road and that in turn can lead to a safer ride. In theory, eliminating the need to look down will give motorists extra time to react when obstacles appear in the roadway or when driving conditions change.
  • Forward Collision Warning: Many new safety innovations are specifically targeted to identify potential collisions and to prevent or avoid them whenever possible. One of the most important may be a forward collision warning system, a feature that is being installed in many mid-grade to high-end cars. Forward collision warnings systems can take a few different forms but all work by combining external sensors with interior display cues to get the driver’s attention. Most commonly, sensors place on the front bumper and the front sides of the car are used to detect other objects in a vehicle’s path, including other cars. If a vehicle gets too close to an object, the technology will issue an audible or visual warning to alert the driver to take evasive action. In the safest forms of this technology, the car will apply the brakes automatically to slow or even stop the car, preventing a rear-end car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that between 23 and 30 percent of all collisions are rear-end crashes so if these accidents could be prevented, billions of dollars could be saved annually and millions of lives would remain unaffected by crashes.
  • Adaptive Headlights: Adaptive headlights work by altering their position based upon the position of a car’s steering wheel. Practically, this means that as a vehicle turns on a road or rounds a corner, the headlights will shift from their standard straight-ahead position to an angled position to illuminate the area where the car will be heading. With the ability to illuminate the road ahead and not simply the scenery, adaptive headlights can help motorists see in front of their vehicles and can reduce the risk of a crash due to that increased visibility.
  • Additional Airbags: Ideally, as many car crashes as possible will be eliminated and as few Americans as possible will have to deal with the harm that stems from them, but until they can all be prevented, safety features that apply at and after the point of impact remain important. Among these are the presence and use of airbags which are designed to cushion passengers from an impact and lessen the injuries they sustain, if any. Traditional cars may have airbags for the driver and front seat passenger but many not have them anywhere else. Newer cars may feature side airbags, knee airbags, and in the case of one manufacturer, even an inflatable seat belt for rear seat passengers. If you are in the market for a new vehicle, you should consider the presence or absence of additional airbags as you make your decision on what to buy.

Regardless of the type of car you drive or the features it contains, if you were involved in a car accident in Chicago, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. offer a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to victims who contact us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we have a licensed lawyer available to take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Prior Blog Entry:

Traffic Fatalities Rose Significantly in 2015, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published February 10, 2016.

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