When you turn on the TV these days, you are almost guaranteed to hear a car commercial with an announcer boasting about the safety features of their newest vehicle. There are sensors, screens, and all types of warnings — but do eco-friendly vehicles have these same bells and whistles?
As technology advances, so will the way our cars operate. Gas-powered vehicles will soon be a thing of the past. In their place, we will see hybrid, solar, and even self-driving electric cars. Environmental sustainability is an incredibly important factor when purchasing a car. However, no matter how advanced things get, our safety and the well-being of our loved ones will always be our top priority.
Fortunately, auto manufacturers realize the importance of both of these considerations for consumers. Here are a few ways that new eco-friendly cars will not only help us get to work but get us there safely:
Safety Features in Eco-Friendly Cars
Yes, eco-friendly car companies are designing their vehicles with safety in mind. As far as accident prevention measures, many eco-friendly vehicles are following in the footsteps of their gas-powered counterparts. As an example, the 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offers many safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane assist, seatbelt pretensioners, and knee airbags, among others. The Kia Optima Hybrid offers many of the same features plus 3-point seat belts, electronic stability control, and hill assistance control, which prevents the vehicle from sliding on steep hills.
As important as the built-in features may be, a hybrid or electric vehicle’s power source is also safer. The gas that fuels most cars might be the norm, but gasoline is bad for the environment; it is a health hazard to humans; and if you get in a collision with a gas-powered car with a tank full of gas, the results could be catastrophic. With hybrid cars, the power source is usually an electric battery or compressed natural gas, which is not only better for the environment but could be less dangerous for the driver during a collision.
The impact of gas-powered vehicles on the environment cannot be understated. Currently, vehicles cause one-third of all U.S. air pollution and are a known contributor to climate change. Eco-friendly cars can put a dent in that damage as electric vehicles produce less than half of the emissions over their lifetime than gasoline-powered vehicles. We are also getting close to having fully solar-powered cars hit the market, which will run using photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into energy. If successful, these vehicles would be even better for the environment.
Technology Is Key
The future for electric, solar, and other eco-friendly vehicles is bright, and drivers will continue to be safe due to further improvements in technology. These tech advancements are leading to many safety features, including brighter LED lights, radar alerts, and inflatable rear safety belts becoming commonplace in many new cars, whether gas-powered or otherwise. If these advancements continue, we could see a significant dent in the nearly 1.25 million car accidents that occur each year.
These advancements are not only improving the safety of everyday drivers, but also the drivers of commercial vehicles that transport 71 percent of our nation’s freight. The truck drivers that keep our shelves full and our economy booming are feeling safer every day thanks to many advancements in fleet technology. For starters, new app-based alerts inform drivers of inclement weather or nearby car accidents so the drivers can avoid danger and plan their routes accordingly.
Many of these fleets utilize GPS systems that not only tell them where to go but provide safety features including hands-free emergency buttons, alerts for drivers who are not wearing seat belts, and beacons that send a message to the home office if the driver is in an accident. Many fleets are also incorporating driver assistance systems where sensors observe speed limit signs and lane markers while giving the drivers the guidance they need in real time.
The Advancement of Self-Driving Cars
There are many who believe that the ultimate answers to driver safety will come when self-driving cars are fully realized. Experts are predicting that self-driving cars could be a reality in the next few yearsand as development continues, so do the promises of more advanced safety features. In many cases, vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving or other human errors. Self-driving cars will take the human component out of the picture.
While the passengers sit back and enjoy the ride, self-driving cars will utilize advanced mirrors, cameras, and radar technology to take the guesswork out of driving. They may have the capability to keep the vehicle from swerving out of lanes, enable sensors to avoid backing into objects in the rear, and effectively stop your car if the vehicle ahead of you stops abruptly. If the self-driving cars also use eco-friendly technology, then they could be a major force in preserving the lives of drivers as well as the environment.
The impact of self-driving cars may be hard to fully comprehend before they become a reality, but some results are all but inevitable. Of the many car accidents that occur each year, tens of thousands are killed in these crashes, on top of the fact that car crashes cost $871 billion per year, which severely impacts our economy. Studies have proven that self-driving cars could alleviate these concerns while potentially cutting vehicle deaths by 90 percent and saving $190 billion per year in healthcare costs.
Indeed, the future is bright when it comes to driver confidence, and as technology improves and vehicles become more eco-friendly, driving from point A to point B could end up becoming the safest part of your day.