Safety On the Roadways: New Features and Old Tactics

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Until someone perfects teleportation or replaces the roads with giant moving walkways, people will be bound to the need to drive. Whether it’s a commute to and from work, a short drive to the supermarket, or a long road trip, other drivers, undesirable weather conditions, and your own occasional bad call could potentially lead to a dangerous car accident that might result in personal injury, the need to replace parts on your car, and the need to repaint those parts. As we wait for the day when we no longer are bound to our metal bodied cars, the best thing we can do is to take advantage of the improved safety features in new cars and engage in defensive driving tactics.

New Technology Warnings

New features in the Honda Accord and other 2013 cars make the potential for safer driving higher than ever.

The Honda Accord has a camera at the top of the front windshield or the front grill that monitors the conditions of the road and warns you if it has judged that you are in danger. These warnings come in two types: the lane departure warning and the forward collision warning.

For the lane departure warning, the camera keeps track of the traffic markings on the road, and warns the driver audibly or visually that the driver is drifting out of their lane and into another. The forward collision warning can identify cars in front of you, and when it senses that you are too close, it will give a visual or audible warning.

Some vehicles like the Infiniti offer a camera at the back of the vehicle. The Infiniti has a feature called the Backup Collision Intervention. This feature comes in handy when backing out of a busy parking lot. The camera feed is shown on the dash display and senses oncoming vehicles that might not be visible to the driver. When the sensors identify an oncoming vehicle, first audible and visual warnings are given, and then if the driver fails to act, the vehicle slows the accelerator, and finally momentarily breaks.

It must be noted that the warning systems cannot physically move the car back into its lane, or slow down or stop the car. Even the Back Up Collision Intervention only takes temporary control. It is up to the driver to make the proper responses and keep their own safety in mind when driving on the roadways. Warning systems are also dependent on weather and heat. Bad conditions or too much heat can lead to an inability of the systems to properly function.

Old School Technology

Anti-Lock Breaking Systems (ABS) sends pulses to the breaks and prevents the car from locking up when there is a need to break hard. The ABS in the Honda accord also has a feature called Break Assist that brings the vehicle to a complete stop sooner during an emergency break and Electronic Break Distribution (EBD) that distributes the force on each of the four wheels depending on how much weight is being put on each wheel. All of these features will help prevent loss of vehicle control when trying to prevent an accident. Making sure that your new car has these features could contribute to your personal safety.

Of course, it is important to wear your seat belt and you should always do so. Seat belts will hold the body of the driver in place during hard stops and prevent the driver from being thrown through the windshield. Seat belts are also helpful in regards to safety provided by air bags.

Air bags in older cars were designed to be used in conjunction with seat belts in order to prevent the driver from hitting the windshield. Without the seat belt holding the driver or passenger back, injury could result from the pressure of the air bags. The new air bags are specially designed to take into account the decision not to wear a seat belt.

These, of course, should be the last line of defense. The goal of driving on the road is to get from place A to place B safely and without the need to pay for damages to your own or other people’s cars. By the time the seat belts and air bags are in use, it will already be too late.

Defensive Driving

None of these features can make up for lack of defensive and safe driving on the road. One day when driving is no longer necessary, the traveler can give into the minds desire to wander.  When focusing on driving is no longer necessary, due to technological advancement.  Until then it is important to remember our days as a first time driver when every action was followed by a law or guideline.

Don’t be a speed demon. It’s tempting to treat driving like a racing game. You win by passing people and getting wherever you are going in record time. Speed limits are there to help prevent overconfident rash drivers and under confident skittish drivers from colliding in a fiery crash. In normal circumstances you might think you can handle the faster speeds, but a rainy day could lead to an uncontrollable skid. Even drivers going under the speed limit might have trouble preventing a crash in those situations. Fast driving will make things worse.

Be aware of your surroundings. Know the road better than you know yourself. If you’re unsure if you have the right of way or if you can make that turn before the oncoming vehicle hits you, wait. You should double check before changing lanes. Check your surroundings before venturing into an intersection even if you have the right of way. People don’t always follow the rules, so you diligence is needed to protect yourself and them.

Use the proper signals. Signals are means of communication that do not become optional once you’re driving has improved. A crash can be prevented by letting people know that you are changing lanes or turning.

With the combination of new, old, and improved safety features and diligent defensive driving, you can ensure that your chances of navigating the road ways safely are more likely. Until that time when cars are no longer needed, may your journey be safe.


Daniel Harris works with BYK Additives & Instruments who specializes in portable spectrophotometers and additives. When Dan’s not double checking a solution he writes about his findings and how they can be applied.

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