Driving is such a part of our lives that we almost take it for granted as an everyday occurrence – until the hazards of driving rear an ugly head. In many parts of the country, foul weather has a huge impact on the safety of our roads. Whether it’s a hurricane, tropical storm, a torrential downfall of rain, or road-slicking sheet of black ice, weather impacts our safe driving in a huge and significant way.
Precaution during foul weather is a significant – and even lifesaving – driving skill. However, even if you happen to live in a milder climate such as St. Petersburg, where weather doesn’t impact the roads as often, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have challenges of your own. Even if you are a skilled, smart driver – regardless of weather – you still face obstacles and hazards. Other not-so-savvy drivers, accidents, pedestrians, even loose pets and wild animals can pose real and serious risks to the safety of you and your family.
Here are a few super new advancements in safety and efficiency technology:
1. Automatic braking and collision warning devices: Many car companies are incorporating radar and camera systems that warn you if you veer off the road or get too close to surrounding vehicles. Developed from advanced cruise control designs, some cars are equipped with automatic braking that is capable of either stopping the vehicle prior to a collision or at least slowing the vehicle to lessen the blow of impact. In studies, these devices have reduced collisions by at least 7 percent – and double that if auto-braking is involved.
2. Lane Keep Assist: Vehicles can be equipped with camera and radar systems that help maintain a vehicle’s center position in a lane. Lane centering is still pretty costly, but lane-keeping systems that beep or vibrate the driver’s seat are more affordable options to help keep vehicles in the correct lanes.
3. Adaptive headlights: LED headlights that swivel around corners and automatically dim high beams in the face of oncoming traffic are great advancements in night driving that enable drivers to avoid obstacles and even see around corners, which can help prevent the need for a personal injury attorney.
4. Automatic Stop-Start: Developed in Europe, where fuels have always been significantly higher in costs, stop-start technology helps improve fuel efficiency by as much as five percent by automatically shutting off a vehicle at a stop light and automatically re-starting it when the driver releases the brake. Many fuel-savvy vehicles already offer this option and the trend is expected to grow.
5. Automotive cameras: Cameras that provide clear views of side and rear ends of the vehicle enable drivers to get a clear vision while turning, entering and exiting parking spots, and avoiding deer and other fast-appearing obstacles that inhibit safe driving. As the technology advances and “gets smarter,” some companies expect to have stoplight-sensing cameras that help automatically steer vehicles from these obstacles by 2016.
Fortunately, cutting edge automotive technology can help you with easy and safe driving, smarter, and more efficiently. And what’s more, as the technology advances, it becomes more and more affordable – and more readily available – providing increased access to crucial safety and efficiency advances for more and more drivers in Saint Petersburg and the rest of the country.