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No person should get behind the wheel without knowing the traffic laws and the basic driving practices, which help reduce collisions or fatal accidents.
Making a mistake or breaking a traffic law results in receiving a well-deserved fine, losing the driver’s license or being sent to jail for a certain period, but what happens if the irresponsibility of the individual sitting on the driver’s seat causes the sudden death of an innocent passer-by? The reality is that no amount of regret or repentance can turn back time and who would want to end up in jail anyway? The answer: nobody. For this reason, apart from taking responsibility for your actions, safe driving requires knowledge, skill and maybe the use of the latest car safety technologies in order to enjoy more control when driving on public streets and private roads. In fact, manufacturers agree and choose to show it by implementing innovative features to new models. No, we are not talking about the traditional airbags, which have the purpose to reduce the risk of injury in potential car crashes.
Taking into account that seatbelts were not even mandatory when they first made their appearance in the 1950’s, drivers have to be thankful for the visible evolution of technology because nowadays they benefit from forwards collision avoidance, dash cameras, blind spot detection, pedestrian detection systems and much more. Since we mentioned the possibility of collisions, we cannot overlook Electronic Stability Control, which becomes very useful during a swerving maneuver to avoid a road hazard or a sudden braking to avoid hitting a child running across the street or another vehicle. In fact, this amazing system, also known as electronic stability program or dynamic stability control, proved to be so effective - reducing the single-vehicle crash by approximately 50% - that was made a part of the standard equipment of most automobiles. However, we have to mention that even though ESC represents a current safety car technology, if the driver is not able to recognize the imminent collision and respond in time accordingly to avoid it, it practically becomes ineffectual. Consequently, drivers need to pay attention to the road when driving and never allow mobile devices distract them.
Since we hear about at least one road accident daily and most of the time the cause refers to distracted driving, it appears that drivers cannot separate from their mobile phone even when getting behind the wheel. On the contrary, they do not hesitate to send messages, answers calls or even visit their social media profile. This is very concerning so manufacturers started to take immediate action by integrating even more modern safety features like blind spot detection which has the purpose to alerts the driver about the presence of another vehicle or any other object positioned in the blind spots, namely those areas of the road that you cannot see when looking in the side or rear-view mirrors. Something similar to this feature refers to forward collision avoidance with a few differences. In this case, instead of those blind spots, it focuses on the front area of the vehicle and instead of short wave radar it uses long range radar. Of course, its purpose remains the same - to alert the driver when the vehicle comes too close to another vehicle in front of it thus avoiding a potential collision or a fatal accident.
The safety features above intervene on the road and imply other vehicles, but what happens to pedestrians? Well, manufacturers did not forget that you can also become involved in an accident by hitting a person when driving so they added specialized algorithms and forward facing cameras to signal the presence of an individual in the close proximity of the vehicle, in order to avoid a contact resulting in serious injuries or even death. For instance, it does not matter if such a situation occurs in the morning, during the day, in the evening or at night, having a dash cam that operates exceptionally installed in the car reduces the risk of not seeing the pedestrian considerably. Although these active safety systems have proved to work wonders on the roads up until this day, there is always room for improvements. For this reason, new models continue to include innovative technologies like tire-pressure monitoring, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, occupant-sensitive, adaptive headlights and emergency brake assist, among others. All these features sound so exciting that we cannot help but tackle a few of them.
All BMW models have tire-pressure monitoring, which immediately senses if the air pressure in the tires drops and notifies the driver just in time either by audible warning or with the appearance of a light on the instrument panel. Lane departure warning has the purpose to wake you up. The truth is that some people really need it, especially if they did not get the chance to enjoy the morning coffee. Leaving all jokes aside, this feature is quite valuable for distracted drivers because it calculates the speed and distance of an approaching vehicle and alerts you instantly through an alarm or vibration of the steering wheel. If necessary, it can even slow down the vehicle.
Moving on to adaptive cruise control, all drivers should know that it does more than just keeping speed constant. Due to radar and sensors, it can even apply the brakes and protect you and the passengers by tightening the seatbelts to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of you. Occupant sensitive refers to sensing airbags. More specifically, the car knows the difference between passengers, whether we are talking about size or weight. Adaptive headlights help the person behind the wheel see further down the road, which becomes extremely useful particularly at night. As for emergency brake assist, the name says it all; it applies brake pressure when you make a panic stop.