Back in the 1980s, the number of deaths caused by vehicular accidents rose to a staggering 50k. Thats 50k people killed in a car accident in a single year. Of course, this is quite understandable because vehicle safety features were still not yet fully implemented at that time. In recent times, this number has gone down quite a great deal to around 30k in the past year. Thats a staggering amount of reduction and of course, we can attribute these to modern vehicle safety features. In fact, the car that you are riding right now is probably equipped with all kinds of safety features, most of which a lot of us take for granted.
The Seat Belt
The current modern three-point seat belt was first introduced by an engineer from Volvo way back in 1959. Of course, Nash and Ford were actually offering cars with other variations of seat belts as early as 1955. In fact, the practice of mandatorily including seat belts in the manufacture of cars became common practice as early as 1958.
Now there are actually some occasions wherein a seat belt has been known to do more harm than good but these are isolated and freak accidents. The reality is that statistics show us that a front seat occupant has at least a 50% higher chance of survival during a collision with the seat belt buckled.
The Crumple Zone
Have you ever noticed how easily the front and back of your car crumples? In fact, even in a low speed collision, there is bound to be a huge dent in your car if you made enough contact with a hard object or another vehicle. This is not a defect in the cars engineering nor is it because your car is made out of cheap materials. In fact, all modern vehicles come equipped with this safety feature known as the crumple zone.
Basically, these zones are designed to absorb the energy from impact during a car crash. Early magazines from the 90s used to advertise these feature by showing a top-down picture of two cars in a perfect collision. The collision was perfect because both cars hit each others crumple zones and thus spared the drivers and passengers from any injury. Through the controlled deformation of the crumple zone, the kinetic energy of the impact from a car crash is safely dispersed away from the passenger cage of the vehicle.
Even more advanced nowadays is the forward collision warning system. Also known as a pre-crash system, it uses tested and proven radar technology to warn the driver of an impending collision. More complex collision warning systems may also include camera and laser technology for more precision.
Automatic Breaking System
This is commonly known as abs and no, it has nothing to do with your rectus abdominis muscles. The ABS often works in tandem with a collision warning system. Once the pre-crash system senses that the vehicle is going too fast and is set to collide with an oncoming obstruction, the ABS automatically kicks in to slow down and eventually halt the vehicle if impact is imminent. The sensors used for ABS systems may include radar, infrared, ultrasonic and other similar technologies.