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5 New Driving Technologies that Save Lives

Some of the many things that have decreased accident rates over the years are new technologies that allow everyone to have a safer driving experience when on the road. It wasn’t too long ago that airbags, padded dashboards, and even seat belts weren’t required in all vehicles. Now more advanced new technologies that are having an impact. Some of these new technologies, such as daytime running lights, will even make you eligible for a discount from certain auto insurance carriers. Read below to find out more about five new driving technologies that are helping to make the roads in America a safer place and, in turn, helping to drive down auto insurance claims and rates.

Cameras at Traffic Lights

Cameras installed at traffic lights have been shown to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers running red lights. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a study in January 2011 showing that in 14 major U.S. cities that had installed cameras at traffic lights, the number of fatal crashes caused by drivers running red lights dropped by a whopping 24% from 2004 to 2008.

As a general rule, these cameras are only found within bigger cities, at intersections carrying the highest risk for crashes.

Daytime Running Lights

Many newer vehicles now come equipped with daytime running lights. Studies have shown that cars with daytime running lights are involved in approximately 5% fewer accidents than those vehicles without such lights. Daytime running lights are beneficial because they improve your overall visibility of the road, other vehicles, and pedestrians, as well as improving the chance of others seeing you. This is particularly the case in areas where it can frequently be dark during winter daytime hours  (i.e., in northern U.S. states)

Electronic Stability Control

Many times weather, such as rain, snow and ice, not driver error is to blame for causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Electronic stability control (ESC) is technology that helps to keep your vehicle in control when you are driving on icy or slippery roads by detecting and minimizing skids. When ESC detects loss of control, it applies the brakes intelligent to each wheel to help guide the vehicle to where the driver is intending to go. Some ESC systems also reduce engine power until control is regained. According to IIHS, ESC reduces the overall likelihood of fatal crashes by 43%, specifically reducing the likelihood of fatal single-vehicle crashes by 56%, and fatal single-vehicle rollovers by 77-80%.

Inflatable Seat Belts

This is probably one of the newest car technologies and has been championed and introduced here in the U.S. by Ford. These seat belts are like traditional seat belts except the belts expand like an air bag in the event of impact, and spread the force of the crash across a wider area of the passenger's body. In addition, these seat belts can help to control the motion of the passenger’s head and neck. Inflatable seat belts are not just for adult drivers and passengers, but can be used for both car and booster seats for children as well.

The new inflatable seat belts will be first available as an option in the 2011 Ford Explorer for the back-passenger seats only.

Head Restraints

Head restraints in today's vehicles are not only higher in the seat, but also provide a closer fit to the back of the driver's head in an effort to help reduce the chance of whiplash should a car be hit from the rear. The head and torso are able to move together with these newly designed head restraint systems, which can lead to a 15% decrease in injury rates.