Road traffic accidents claim thousands of lives every day. Numbers say that around 1.35 million people die every year in road crashes globally, with 38,000 people dying in the USA alone. Furthermore, 20 to 50 million people suffer severe injuries leading to disabilities.
In an effort to reduce these numbers, car manufacturers equip their cars with some safety features that go a long way in preventing crashes and saving the lives of people.
Let us introduce you to the safety features of cars.
Airbags have been saving thousands of lives since 1998. Front airbags are standard on cars. The cars come equipped with crash sensors that are connected to an onboard computer. These sensors detect frontal collision and activate the airbags. They inflate to reduce the impact of the crash and deflate within seconds.
Since 2007, dual-stage or adaptive front airbags became standard. These airbags detect the seat position, presence, and weight of the driver and the front passenger—a car with dual airbags, one for the driver and one for the passenger, offer optimum safety.
Torso-protecting airbags keep the front-seat passengers safe. These small cushion-like airbags emerge from the door or side of the seatback. They provide optimum protection to the torso. Certain cars come with additional side-curtain bags that pop out from above the windows. They cover the front, as well as rear side windows. These airbags stay inflated for a longer duration as compared to other airbags and protect the passengers from flying debris and hitting their heads. During a high-speed crash or roll-over, these airbags do not allow the passengers to fall out of the car.
However, airbags can also cause injuries, and in some rare cases, the death of children or passengers who do not have their seatbelts on.
Anti Lock brakes (ABS)
ABS brakes have revolutionized the braking system. These brakes prevent the front tires of the car from sliding or turning on slippery surfaces. A hard push on the pedal activates the system.
The system uses sensors on every wheel and a computer to maximize the braking action and prevent lock-ups. The system also allows the driver to control the steering while braking. This makes it easy for the driver to prevent obstacles.
The system causes pulsing sensations traveling through the brake pedals and vibrations at the wheels. However, it is a part of the normal action mechanism of the wheel.
ABS works with cars having brake discs as well as brake drums. View more here to learn about brake drums.
Traction control is another latest safety feature of the cars. It is an electronically controlled system that restricts the wheel from spinning during acceleration, giving maximum traction to the drive wheels. While some systems work strictly at low speeds, some work at all speeds.
Most systems work in conjugation with the ABS to stop the spinning wheel. The power routes to the drive wheel.
Electronic stability control
ECS or Electronic Stability Control keeps the car on the path while the car is turning. It keeps the vehicle from skidding or sliding. This system also uses computers and sensors to detect the speed of the wheel, rotation, sideways motion, as well as steering angle.
If the car skids and moves outside the planned path, the ESC system stops the wheel. Some systems also reduce engine power, making it easier for the driver to pull the vehicle back on the intended path.
The bottom line
Gone are the days when these luxury features were part of only luxury cars. Today, these systems are found in every vehicle. With the use of the most modern technologies, these systems keep the passengers safe.