Around 1.3 million people die each year or nearly 3,287 deaths per day worldwide due to road crashes and collisions. An estimated 20-50 million are injured or disabled according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASRT). The main causes and risk factors of road accidents are speeding, alcohol or drugs use, distracted driving, unsafe vehicles, hazardous roads and poor enforcement of traffic laws according to the WHO. The good news is technology is developing at a rapid pace to address these concerns to save lives and improve road safety for drivers and other users.

Autonomous vehicles that think for you

Fully autonomous vehicles might still take some time before hitting the roads due to technical and legal issues that need to be sorted out, but you can already enjoy some of the benefits of self-driving cars. Whereas telematics would help you lower your insurance premiums by tracking your driving habits, nowadays, you can go for a car that is equipped with assistive features to make cruising safer and efficient. Technologies such as lane assist & lane departure warning, advanced cruise control, intelligent speed adaptation and emergency braking help improve safety and comfort. And if you think you’re horrible at parking, fret no more, as even auto parking is a cool innovation that helps you achieve that perfect maneuver with the press of a button. Just keep an eye on things in case the mechanics fail.

Artificial intelligence for seamless communication

To reduce or eliminate distracted driving, artificial intelligence allows you to talk to your devices, GPS and infotainment systems without taking your hands off the wheel or fumbling around with the buttons on the screen. The main players are Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. Toyota, Ford, VW, BMW, and Lexus are some of the brands that will be fitted with this innovative technology. The next time you get behind the wheel, simply talk to Alexa and let the cloud-based voice control bring you to places and take you home with just a few words.

Smart roads that guide and show the way

Rolision et al in their study of the factors that contribute to road accidents stated that ‘increased prevalence of visual and cognitive impairment’ among older drivers influence collisions. Poor visibility on the street and inferior road quality play a role in accidents. With the fusion of technology on smart roads, better visibility is expected day and night. Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure of the Netherlands partnered to introduce energy-efficient highway lighting.  In the city of Oss, the special photo-luminescent coating on the lanes of N329 glow in the dark and are powered without electricity.   

Highways England, the company in charge of maintaining England’s roads and highways, is set to install 170 state-of-the-art LED stud lights on a junction that is used by over 90,000 vehicles daily. The intelligent road lights will illuminate when the traffic light turns red or green showing drivers which lanes to take. It helps avoid lane drifting and reduces risks of collisions.
The use of tech innovations in the ideal world enhances safety, reduces accidents and improves driving experience. Fortunately, with the rapid advances in technology, the deployment of intelligent cars on the roads can see those crash stats tumble fast reducing deaths and injuries.