The Evolution of Car Safety Features

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From padded dashboards to three-point seatbelts, the development of car safety features has saved thousands of lives over time. Now, safety features are at the core of car design.

Safety has taken its rightful place among performance, styling, fuel economy and convenience as one of the primary considerations when purchasing new cars. But how did this come to pass?

Air Bags

Hetrick was driving home from a trip to the coast in 1952 when he hit a boulder and skidded off the road, unhurt despite this mishap, sparking his interest in creating safer cars. This incident inspired Hetrick to research ways of making vehicles safer.

He devised an airbag designed to deploy in case of an accident, the first prototypes using compressed air tanks but proved unreliable; so, the next step was adding sensors that could detect collisions and activate it immediately.

Mechanical engineer Allen Breed developed a crash sensor capable of sensing impact forces and activating airbag inflation in 1974 for Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile cars.

Ralph Nader made headlines for his fight to make vehicles safer during the 1970s with increased accidents resulting from seat belt use being mandatory and manufacturers being required to install airbags as required by government mandate. This increased awareness led governments around the world mandating seatbelt use as well as mandating manufacturers install airbags as standard features on all new car models.

Side Marker Lights

Side marker lights are an integral component of any vehicle’s lighting system. Positioned along both the front and rear edges, they produce steady or flashing lights to enhance visibility in low light or adverse weather conditions.

Additionally known as indicator lights or directional lights, indicator and directional lights allow drivers to advertise their intention to turn, change lanes or park on the side of the road. They illuminate with headlights or blink periodically while usually being mounted on bumper, fender or rear quarter panel of their vehicle.

Limicar’s ultra-bright LED side markers feature an innovative “tiger eye” design to produce an effective beam in all directions, making them the ideal upgrade or replacements for damaged marker lights. Always ensure your vehicle’s marker lights are illuminated perpendicularly to the car; using incorrect ones could cause collisions due to blind spots caused by using perpendicular markers instead.

Electronic Stability Control

Drifting sideways on a racetrack may be thrilling, but not when trying to navigate traffic or avoid accidents on busy roads. Electronic stability control – known by such proprietary names as StabiliTrak (Ford), Vehicle Dynamics Control (Mercedes) or AdvanceTrac (Vogel) – detects when your vehicle begins skidding off-course and automatically intervenes to keep it on course.

ESC utilizes sensors such as steering angle, yaw and lateral acceleration to compare your vehicle’s motion with what the driver wants it to go in. If they differ significantly, engine power is reduced by backing off throttle or retarding spark timing to create asymmetrical torque around its vertical axis preventing wheel spin and returning it back under command from the driver.

However, it will not protect against being involved in high-performance driving or breaking any laws of physics and so will not prevent you from performing burn outs at a drag strip or going sideways during high performance driving.

Blind Spot Detection

As a response to the numerous car accidents caused by drivers who fail to check their blind spot, this safety feature was developed. It works by using sensors or digital cameras to monitor areas surrounding your car that may not be easily visible through mirrors.

Basic versions of this system utilize ultrasonic sensors. More sophisticated versions rely on corner radar sensors installed into your vehicle’s rear bumper on both sides. Powerful control software compiles this sensor information and notifies you if another vehicle enters your blind spot; either visually in your side view mirror or audibly when activating your turn signal.

Though blind spot detection systems may help reduce blind spot-related collisions, it is still vitally important to pay attention to your surroundings before changing lanes or making any turn. Should an accident happen, Gerber Collision professionals are ready and waiting to assist!

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