More people may have been staying at home in 2020, but research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that an estimated 36,680 people died in motor crashes last year, up by 7.2% from the previous year. Some of the most common causes of motor accidents include DUIs, distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving, ignoring red lights, and driving at night or when the weather is poor. The good news for those who are worried about hitting the road is that innovations in vehicle safety are making it easier to feel safe and secure behind the wheel. Below are just a few of the most interesting developments in this sector.

Rear Occupant Alert and Pedestrian Detection

Leaving a child in a rear set is a parent’s worst nightmare, which makes rear occupant alert systems a more than worthwhile investment. Just this year, Hyundai announced that it would include this feature in its Genesis vehicles. The rear occupant alert system detects if a rear door was opened or closed once the vehicle’s engine was started and it later reminds the driver to check the back seat once the drive has ended. Equally useful from a third-party safety perspective are pedestrian detection systems, which use both radar sensors and cameras to identify cyclists and pedestrians. The system both gives drivers a warning and stops the car automatically if a collision is imminent.

Super Cruise Systems

The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 is promising an exciting and ultra-safe drive for its clients, thanks to a Super Cruise - a General Motors advanced driver assistance system. Super Cruise allows drivers to enjoy a hands-free experience while their vehicle is on compatible roads. The system relies on LiDAR-generated map data plus infrared lights an d a camera to safely take charge of the vehicle’s steering, acceleration, and braking systems. Super Cruise will also alert the driver if the latter is looking away from the camera for an excessive period of time, reminding him/her to stay focused on the road.

Forward Collision Warning Plus Active Braking

As warned by specialists in vehicle accident law, Johnson García, it can be very different to escape fault when you bump into a car in front of you. Forward collision warning systems monitor both your vehicle’s speed and that of the vehicle in front of you, issuing a warning if your vehicle gets too close. Because these systems only provide a warning, they won’t stop an accident if you do not react quickly enough. For your and others’ safety and for your legal protection, going a step further and opting for a car that additionally has active braking features will help ensure you come to a stop in the event of a potential accident. Some vehicles - such as the 2021 Jeep Wrangler - also have rear cross path detection systems, which spot any obstacles you miss when you are backing out of or into a parking spot.

Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Systems

Blind spot collisions are more common than you might imagine. The National Highway Safety Administration reports, for instance, that over 800,000 of these accidents occur every year. Car manufacturers have taken big strides to help drivers avoid this type of accident. The new 2022 Hyundai Kona, for instance, will boast a blind spot collision warning system that turns on both audible and visual warnings when there are cars in your blind spot region. New systems use cameras, radars, and/or ultrasonic sensors to augment your own visual efforts to spot passing cars when you are changing lanes. 

Many of the leading causes of accidents can be avoided thanks to technology. New vehicle safety tech focuses on avoiding collisions, promoting safety for rear seat passengers, and braking vehicles automatically if there are people, animals, or other vehicles on the road. From advanced biometric systems capable of determining the level of a driver’s awareness to fully self-driving cars, there are many more innovations aimed at offering a safer driving experience than ever before.