Car Safety Features
Since the invention of the car, safety has always been a concern. Here, we look at car safety improvements through the years and what drives the changes in vehicle safety.
The First Car Accident
In 1891, James William Lambert lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a hitching post. Injuries in this accident were minor. This is the first recorded accident of a gasoline-powered car.
Are Older Cars Safer?
There are a lot of people that hold on to the idea that older cars were built tougher. Some people believe newer cars crumple too easily. But, in reality, newer cars crumple to absorb impact and protect the people inside. Is a solid car a safer car? Check out this video of a 1959 Bel Air vs a 2009 Malibu.
Car Safety Features
In 1968, the NHTSA required seatbelts in every new car. In the 1980s, only 14% of Americans used seatbelts on a regular basis. The seatbelt is arguably the most important safety feature of any car. Since its invention, the seatbelt has saved countless lives. Still, a lot of car manufacturers resisted installing seatbelts on new cars. The history of seatbelts in the United States is an interesting one. Read more on the History Channel’s website.
Parents with children in car seats may be familiar with the LATCH system. The LATCH system works to keep small children secured in their car seat in the event of a crash.
In the video above you can see how the safety cage works on the 2009 Malibu. On impact, the Malibu body crumples and the safety cage protects the people inside the car. Newer cars crumple to absorb the force of the impact. This protects the people inside. The first safety cages were introduced in the 1950s. Today, almost all cars use safety cage construction.
Airbags are standard on all cars manufactured since 1998. They have saved many lives. But safety features, like airbags, have the potential to cause injury. Faulty airbags from companies, like Takata, have hurt and even killed people.
When I was learning to drive, I was told to pump the brakes to avoid losing control on slippery road surfaces. But, most cars now have anti-lock brakes. Anti-lock brake technology works automatically in the same way. The anti-lock brakes will automatically pulse to assist in stopping when tires slip.
A forward-collision warning system alerts a driver when they approach another car too fast. The forward-collision warning uses a combination of cameras, radar, or laser to detect a potential crash.
Blind spots are a real danger when driving on the road. A blind-spot warning system uses an icon to alert drivers of potential hazards in a blind spot beside the vehicle.
Car Safety Features Of The Future
Self Driving Cars
Car companies, like Tesla, have made real progress toward self-driving features in their cars. Statistically, self-driving cars have a lower crash rate when compared to miles driven. But, this technology is still new. Even Tesla warns drivers to remain alert and aware while using self-driving technology.
It’s true, human error plays a part in virtually all car crashes. For now, most people still prefer to do the driving themselves.
Progress In Car Safety Features
If you have been in a car accident, chances are you have seen the benefit of car safety features. Do you ever wonder why cars get safer? Are safety improvements just a gimmick?
Why Do Cars Get Safer?
Why do car makers come up with safety features? Are they just a gimmick to sell more cars? The truth is, sometimes car makers do invent safety features as a sales gimmick. But, many times they have pressure from lawmakers and insurance companies. Insurance companies lobby lawmakers to make cars safer.
Insurance Companies Lobby For Safer Cars
Why do insurance companies care about safer cars? Because car accident injuries are the most expensive portion of an accident claim. It is in the best interest of all car insurance companies to keep as much of your insurance money as possible. But, personal injury lawyers help people get the money they need.
Personal Injury Attorneys Make Cars Safer
Personal injury attorneys make sure injured people are fairly compensated for their injury. Insurance companies can’t win against personal injury lawyers. So, insurance companies lobby lawmakers to push car manufacturers for safer cars. But, personal injury lawyers motivate insurance companies to push for car safety features.