UN celebrated its 6th Global Road Safety Week from 17th May to 23rd May this year. Road safety is a crucial aspect of the whole mobility ecosystem that cannot be neglected. Over the years, multiple advancements have been made that enhance the safety of the passengers seated inside the car as well as people on the road or in other cars. Today’s article will look at some of the major technologies and policies that have enhanced road safety in the last century.
Wearing a seatbelt is one of the most basic yet crucial safety element inside a car. The first three-point seatbelt was introduced as standard equipment by Volvo back in 1959. In India, cars that were manufactured after March 25, 1994, are equipped with front seat belts. Come 2002, the seat belts were installed for the rear seats as well. Understanding the importance of a seatbelt, the Indian government made front seat belts mandatory in 2002. A seatbelt is one of the first safety equipment that will come into play as soon as a car involves in an accident. This is the main reason why wearing a seat belt is so important. In modern cars, sensors are installed in 1st-row seatbelt buckles. If the driver or the co-driver avoids wearing a seatbelt, the car starts giving auditory signals reminding the same. This is a positive step towards implementing road safety.
Airbags play a very important role when it comes to enhancing the safety of passengers inside a car. Airbags are deployed as soon as the sensors register a crash. The bag acts as a soft cushion that prevents the passengers from coming in contact with the interior surfaces like dashboards, steering wheel and windows. The first patent for a car airbag was filed in 1952. GM launched the first-ever car with an onboard airbag in 1973. The Indian government has finally made dual airbags mandatory in passenger cars from this year. Airbags could be counted as one of the biggest advancements that have enhanced road safety by leaps & bounds.
Crash tests have played a major role in pushing carmakers to give equal priority to safety standards as well. This was not the case until a few years ago, at least in India. Even the customers were never careful of what the product was offering in terms of safety. The crash test results are technically & psychologically important for customers & car markers equally. Customers have started paying attention to the safety ratings of a car and learning about other necessary safety features in the car. This is slowly forcing carmakers to make safer cars in the country. In India’s case, GNCAP’s #SaferCarForIndia campaign has surely given the customers a chance to make smarter decisions when buying a car.
An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is a feature that has been made mandatory in the country and is in effect since 2019. ABS plays an important role when urgent braking is required. During sudden braking, the tyres tend to lock and slip, which increases the stopping distance and in worst cases could even lead to the bursting of tyres. This would result in a much fatal outcome. However, since the time ABS became mandatory, the aforementioned situation becomes largely hypothetical, as ABS does not allow the wheel to lock, and even helps in quick manoeuvring of the vehicle. This feature has become an important pillar when it comes to making vehicles safer. Thus, ABS has also enhanced road safety.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are really important when it comes to enhancing the safety of passengers as well as other people on the road. ADAS is a cluster of important features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning system, collision warning system, blind-spot detection system and some parking assistance systems. In foreign countries, there are rarely any cars that are robbed of this important feature. In India, we only get to see them in premium cars, but we hope that ADAS is made mandatory by the government in the coming years.
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