There are so many technological advances being made by automakers, that someday, everyone will be able to drive safer cars.  After seeing a car that parks itself, it seems that they can almost run on automatic pilot!  Until these safety features become standard in all vehicles, however, we will still have to do the driving.  Consider the following innovations that have been made, such as: 

  • Blind Spot Monitoring.  This is always something that bugs me, because there just seems to be too many ways of not seeing someone in the lane you are trying to enter.  This type of monitoring uses sonar to keep tabs on the blind spots on both sides of the car.  Versions of this technology are already available on some makes of cars.
  • Lane Departure Warning.  It’s too bad all cars don’t already have this technology, as this can be very helpful when a driver becomes drowsy or otherwise distracted.  When the car reaches a certain speed, and wanders across lanes, the certified speed system activates an audible alert.
  • Bird’s Eye View Camera.  There are many backup and parking assist cameras available, but this particular type of system allows you to park safely by allowing you to have a view that virtually lets you seem to look down on the car from above the roof.
  • Smart Keys.  My car has smart keys, and they let me lock or unlock the car from pretty far away, without having to fumble around to find them.  There’s a new “smart” ignition key that allows a parent to program the key for their child.  Parents can set the maximum vehicle speed, activate a persistent seat belt reminder, and set the level for radio volume.  (By the way, this is an American-made car.) It would also be wonderful if it had a Breathalyzer, so the car couldn’t start if Junior had been drinking.  One German automaker has developed the Alco key, requiring the driver to blow into the key before driving the car.  If a Red LED light comes on, the engine will not start.
  • Another feature the same automaker has created is the Collision Warning System, which contains radar technology that performs a wide-angle search to detect objects in front and around your car, such as pedestrians or cyclists.  A red warning light displays on the windscreen.  If there is an increased risk, a panic brake is activated.  If the driver fails to brake and a collision is imminent, the brakes are activated automatically. 

The one thing I would love to see is a system that warns a person if they leave a little passenger in a car seat.  We have had too many innocent children that have lost their lives by being left in a locked car.  If cars can ding when you leave the keys in them, or you don’t have your seat belt fastened, why can’t there be some type of alarm connected to the back seatbelts that secure a car seat, or small child?  Hopefully, car manufacturers are already ahead of me on this, but please, consider this safety feature as a priority.  We have GPS systems, hands-free phone systems, stability control, air bags, and fuel efficient systems that have been developed for our safety, however, many of the new safety features that are now being built into vehicles are available only on the expensive models.  It is hoped that one day, all these sophisticated features are on every car when it leaves the manufacturer. 

And remember, even if you have all the fancy stuff, you still have to be alert behind the wheel.  Please don’t text and drive, don’t drink and drive, and wait on those phone calls until you get safely to your destination.