Today car manufacturers are making cars safer and more crash-proof than ever before. Innovations in materials, GPS technology and microchips have made several potentially life-saving technologies cost-effective and affordable for the car buyer.
Car safety devices and features can be split into two categories: Passive devices such as seat belts and airbags, and active devices, which proactively assist drivers in avoiding accidents.
In most cases the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) tells the insurance company which safety features a particular vehicle has and plays a factor in resulting insurance premiums.
1) Intelligent Airbags
In the old days, airbags could prove almost as dangerous to smaller drivers and passengers as the crash itself. They deployed with such force that smaller and lighter crash victims could be injured. The new generation of bags takes into account the size of the crash victim, and their forward speed, and automatically make adjustments to compensate, resulting in a safer airbag.
2) Distance Control Assist Devices
This active device uses laser or radar technology to estimate the distance between your car and the one in front of you. The computer system also monitors your forward speeds and your speeds relative to one another. If the distance between you is shortening rapidly, you an alarm will sound. Some models will even begin to move the gas pedal upwards to make it easier for you to switch to the brake.
3) Lane Departure Warning Devices
Lane departure warning devices use optics to monitor lane markings – and will automatically sound a warning tone if you start drifting out of your lane. Some higher end cars will even nudge the car back into the lane. These devices have been used in commercial truck fleets for years, but are now emerging in the luxury sedan market.
4) Accident Notification Systems
This is a passive technology, but can be a vital one: It will contact emergency responders when you can’t. If your vehicle is involved in an accident, the accident notification system will automatically notify the manufacturer’s cellular link service (think “OnStar” but there are others), which will then alert rescue personnel using GPS technology. So if you are injured after a wreck, or even if your cell phone battery is dead, help is on the way.
5) Anti-Rolling Technology
Anti-rolling technology uses aircraft automatic pilot technology and applies it to your car. A system of sensors monitors if your car is tilting to one direction or another – and automatically makes adjustments to stop the car from flipping. The car may apply a combination of measures, such as reducing throttle, applying the anti-lock brake system, and adjusting steering to prevent a flip – and perhaps save you from a serious injury. Chrysler calls this technology “rollover mitigation.” General Motors refers to this technology as “rollover avoidance.”
6) Emergency Brake Assist
An emergency brake assist feature uses computer technology to determine whether a brake application is a gentle, routine slow-down or stop, or whether it is a panic brake situation. If your brake is applied combined with an agitated movement of the steering wheel, or if your foot release on the gas is quicker than usual, or you are hitting your brakes abnormally hard, a computer automatically engages the emergency brake assist – putting more hydraulic pressure on the line and applying brakes quicker and more forcefully to stop your vehicle’s wheels.
Obviously, different carriers have different pricing systems, and most incorporate the above safety features into their premiums. However many do offer discounts for after-market anti-theft devices, etching, and winter tires.
Can you qualify for a discount? Contact your auto insurance broker today and find out.