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Auto Technology vs. Driving Conditions

Technology is always advancing and the auto industry is at the forefront of change. Do you know about all of the safety features available today? You might be thinking about buying a new vehicle or you may even have some on your car already! Check out some of these advances to find out how your vehicle can help you combat bad weather conditions. From the pavement to the roof - thank you to the Mom CEO for this very useful information.

 

Tires

Tire pressure monitoring systems have been available in luxury vehicles since the late 1980’s but thanks to the TREAD Act in 2007, are now required in all vehicles. These systems monitor the air in your tires and will alert you when the pressure changes. This is useful as a warning to the driver that there may be trouble if it isn’t addressed quickly. Temperature changes, especially rapid ones, can lead to an increase or decrease in pressure. This can at least affect performance or at most cause a loss of control. An over inflated tire can explode and an underinflated tire, even by only 5 pounds per square inch, can lead to an unbalanced vehicle. According to Goodyear the pressure in a tire can decrease 1-2 pounds per square inch for every 10 degree reduction.

 

Rear Bumper

The Federal Government has mandated the auto industry to equip more vehicles with the back-up camera on rear bumper. By spring of 2016 all automakers must produce at least 10% of their vehicles with this feature installed. The rate for 2017 is 40% and grows to include all models by 2018. The rear-facing camera displays the unseen radius directly behind a car when it is shifted into reverse. This can help drivers avoid all collisions, but especially those hard to see obstacles such as snow banks or concrete parking stops. It was shown in one study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety that having a back-up camera on a vehicle helped to avoid 44% more accidents than those vehicles without one.

 

Headlights

Headlamps have been mounted on automobiles since very early in the evolution of the car. The safety feature of headlights is clear, the more you are able to see when driving, particularly at night, the better! The newest innovation is referred to as “adaptive headlights” and have been available since 2004. The headlights turn with your car in order to increase the lighted area where you need it most. Early studies have shown that having this feature can let a driver going 30 mph see a potential hazard on the road 15 feet sooner. For Michigan residents, this will hopefully lead to a decrease in car-deer accidents each year. As of 2014, these were standard on 14% of all models and optional on 22%.

 

Dashboards and Steering Wheels

In-dash navigation systems have increased safe driving since they were first introduced more than 10 years ago. Between these and the portable GPS devices widely available, drivers are more certain of traffic conditions and direction. Many will only take address information while parked, decreasing distractions while on the road. Others will show a graphic of upcoming lane changes for plenty of preparation. Steering wheels are also getting a make-over. In 2015, Ford is doing a selective model release of an adaptive steering system. This will allow the ratio of drive movement to turn response to be sensitive to weather conditions. This will give better control and handling of the vehicle overall. Manufacturers like Nissan and BMW are also working on this technology.


In addition to increasing the safety of yourself and your family members, there could be another reason to look into this technology. Some auto insurance carriers offer discounts based on the type of safety features on a vehicle. If you have any questions on this, please contact our account managers, they’re ready to help!