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Vehicle safety has come a long way since the first cars hit the roads. 

Today, vehicle manufacturers are able to leverage machine learning, on-board cameras, and other technology to better prevent collisions on the road. 

Having a vehicle that can protect you in the event of a collision is one thing, but having a car equipped with technology to detect and prevent collisions can greatly reduce the risk of a crash in the first place. 

Are you curious what types of safety technology a certain car is equipped with? Use our free Crash Safety Ratings lookup and our free VIN Decoder for details. 

Vehicle Safety Technologies

The majority of car crashes are the result of human error. This includes drivers making mistakes, drowsy drivers, drunk drivers, negligent drivers, aggressive drivers, and loss of control.

Each new model year brings about the potential for new standard and optional features that are designed to detect and prevent collisions. 

While a car’s structural design, seat belts, headrests, and airbags can help prevent serious injury and death in the event of a crash, new technologies can avoid the situation in the first place. 

In many new models today, you’ll find both standard and optional safety features that can keep you safe on the road.

The main types of vehicle safety features include:

  • Collision Warning Systems. 
  • Crash Prevention Technology.
  • Driving Assistance Features. 

With technology advancing and getting better with each new model year, it’s worth it to take the time to understand how each feature works so that you can be sure you’re getting the latest in vehicle safety. 

When looking at NHTSA 5-Star safety ratings and IIHS Top Safety Picks, you’ll find information about which crash avoidance technologies are included with the vehicle. 

The NHTSA makes a note of which models come standard with certain equipment, while the IIHS performs tests to rate forward crash prevention systems. 

The best crash prevention technologies can receive a rating of “Superior” from the IIHS. 

Learn more about how crash safety ratings work here. 

Collision Warning Systems

Collision warning systems are designed to alert the driver if it detects the risk of a collision. 

In most vehicles the warning system makes an audible sound and visual display to alert you. 

Collision warning systems use sensors to detect distances between slow moving vehicles, stopped vehicles, stationary objects, and other things that you may be at risk of hitting. 

When the sensor detects something, the alert will go off, and the driver will need to take the necessary action to prevent a collision.  

The main types of collision warning systems include:

  • Forward Collision Warning.
  • Rear Collision Warning.
  • Lane Departure Warning.
  • Blind Spot Warning.

While these types of systems are useful in preventing collisions, it’s still important for the driver to pay attention to the road around them, check their blind spots, and take the actions necessary to avoid collisions. 

Crash Prevention Systems

Collision intervention systems and crash prevention technology takes the warning systems a step further. 

Not only does this technology alert the driver to potential collisions, but it will also make automatic adjustments to mitigate a crash. 

These systems work with on-board sensors and cameras to detect vehicles, objects, and pedestrians near and around the car. 

When the system determines that a crash is imminent, it will alert the driver and automatically try to slow or stop the vehicle before the driver takes action themself. 

These technologies have proven to prevent or reduce the severity of a collision if the driver fails to take the necessary corrective actions. 

The most common types of crash prevention systems include:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking. 
  • Dynamic Brake Support. 
  • Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking. 
  • Rear Automatic Braking. 
  • Blind Spot Intervention. 

Again, even if your vehicle is equipped with these systems, it’s still important that you pay attention to the road around you. 

Driver Assistance Technologies

Driving assistance technologies are more ways modern vehicles are designed to reduce the risk and severity of collisions. 

Some commons ones that come standard or optional in many current model year vehicles include:

  • Adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts your speed based on the distance between cars around you.
  • Lane keeping and centering assistance, which helps the car maintain a center position in the lane to give you the best space cushion. 
  • Automatic headlights, which switch from high to low beam based on vehicles around you. 
  • Backup cameras, which provide you with an additional view of what’s behind your vehicle when you reverse. 
  • Automatic crash notifications, which can automatically alert emergency services in the event of a collision. 

When used in conjunction with defensive driving techniques and standard safety equipment, these vehicle safety features can go a long way in reducing the severity of crashes and preventing them in the first place.