The automotive industry has come a long way in terms of improving road safety. In the past, the extent of innovation only went as far as installing seatbelts and airbags in vehicles, but now, advanced technology is available to make our roads so much safer for pedestrians and motorists alike. Traffic accidents are now preventable events, and drivers are equipped with innovate technology to reduce their chances of getting into an accident. As mentioned in our post on 'How Smart Tech is Reducing Roadwork Risk', technology plays a vital role in reducing the risks to highway workforces. The same applies to road safety, as technology exists to alter the driving experience for the better and make our roads safe for all.
Here are just three of the advancements that are currently making safer roads possible: Artificial intelligence Artificial intelligence is arguably one of the greatest innovations of the 21st century. It has a crucial role in vehicle safety, especially since it gives way to smart technologies that can make our roads safer. For instance, AI makes autonomous vehicles (AVs) possible, which researchers believe could reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90% by 2050 in some developed countries. Case in point: Tesla's version of AVs resulted in reducing accident rates by 40% when the self-driving function was activated. Most autonomous vehicles are capable of not only finding the fastest route to a destination and allowing for improved fuel efficiency, but they also provide fully-automated driving, eliminating human error completely. And while AVs are not ready for mass deployment just yet, ambitious estimates predict that by 2030, 1 out of 4 cars on the road will be driverless. Telematics The statistics on accidents concerning large trucks and big commercial vehicles is sobering. In 2018 alone, 4,862 large trucks were involved in a fatal crash, a 1% increase from the previous year and a whopping 51% increase since 2009. With telematics, these can be greatly reduced as it has the capacity to correct unsafe driving in real-time. To the uninitiated, telematics is a system that can reduce fatalities by way of using GPS and mobile devices to send and receive information. The data captured can include, but not be limited to speed, location, fuel consumption, vehicle faults, and idling time. Verizon Connect UK details how telematics can improve safety because the feedback on drivers' style and behaviour is continuous. This means managers can coach them better regarding bad habits like speeding or harsh braking, product reports on these habits, and then implement new safety targets based on the driver's performance. Considering how many accidents are caused by human error, the use of telematics will make drivers be more inclined to drive safely. Improved tyres While digital advancements can prove very useful, they do very little when it comes to the physical aspect. Not many are privy to this, but one major safety issue is the actual tyres on a vehicle. Worn-out tyres can be very hazardous and can impede driving. Industry Today notes that old tires will lack grip and will make it harder for the driver to drive safely in the rain or snow. They also tend to deflate – no matter how much air you pump into them. A considerable number of traffic accidents occur each year due to cars having faulty tyres. So it is very important that vehicle owners ensure that their tires are in tiptop shape. They can have the tyre pressure measured during routine check-ups and take note of tyre rotations and purchases. It doesn't even matter much if the tyres are cheap, as they can get the job done way better than worn-out tyres. In terms of the technologies that can counter these issues, drivers should consider getting smart tires, which have sensors built-in and can monitor the wear and tear, tyre pressure, and the temperature inside the tyre. With this type of tyre, drivers will be notified if any potential damage has happened, allowing them to address it before it causes an accident.
Guest blog post, written exclusively for highwaycare.com
By Nancy Berry