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The future of car crash prevention

When you walk into a car dealership in the North Royalton area, you’ll find new vehicles packed with a wide array of safety features. In 2021, available safety systems include automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot alerts and more.

All are designed to reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes. When car accidents do occur, the systems help to minimize injuries by reducing vehicle speed before the moment of impact.

A number of additional innovative safety technologies are on their way, too. Some have already been incorporated in select vehicles in Europe, while others are still in development.

Let’s take a look.

Double vision

Augmented reality is a blend of what the driver sees and what the vehicle’s computer sees. In vehicles equipped with an augmented reality system, a 3D holographic image is projected in a head-up display, showing drivers where to turn and stop, while also highlighting upcoming pedestrians, stopped vehicles, etc.

Some vehicles in Europe already have augmented reality systems.

Done with ‘dooring’

‘Dooring’ is when a driver or passenger opens a vehicle door into a bicyclist’s path. He or she then slams into the door, or veers sharply away from the door into traffic and even worse potential collisions.

Dooring prevention systems consist of sensors to detect bicyclists and vehicles approaching from behind. Systems then issue alerts or briefly prevent doors from being opened.

Seeing heat

Thermal camera systems will enable vehicles to “see” pedestrians by detecting body heat. The systems will help to prevent vehicle-pedestrian collisions in twilight and at night, as well as adverse weather conditions such as snow and rain.

Consumer Reports says the thermal camera systems are in development but could be in vehicles by 2025.

  • Also on the way: adaptive driving beam headlights that will cut glare and improve long-range visibility (not yet approved for U.S. use); driver monitoring systems that will help detect distracted driving and driver medical emergencies (already in some vehicles).