Do smarter cars make drivers safer?

Statistics have consistently proven that smart car technology lowers accidents and improves road safety overall. A report from the Insurance Institute from 2022...

Carmakers compete continually to provide the greatest features, increased efficiency, and customer happiness. The driving experience is improved with each successive model.

Crash avoidance technology is one of the more recent inventions aimed at making a safe experience. This relatively new technology aims to assist drivers in avoiding collisions in several ways.

The advancements in smart cars have improved driver safety, and insurance rewards those who value safety and use these technologies. 

Drivers now have technologies at their disposal that may greatly affect their safety, from minor applications to the large collision avoidance systems found on newer automobiles (and car insurance rates).

Do smarter cars make drivers safer?
Do smarter cars make drivers safer?

What is a smart car?

A smart car is any type of vehicle that uses technology to help drivers avoid accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies four types of smart car technologies:

Vehicle-based safety systems, crash warning systems, active braking technologies, and pedestrian detection systems. 

These technologies help address vulnerabilities in standard vehicles that can lead to crashes, such as eliminating blind spots from the driver's view. 

Intelligent vehicle technologies often use a combination of cameras, sensors, and artificial intelligence to alert drivers and reduce human error.

NHTSA is also discussing the possibility of future smart car technologies that use crash detection technology to enable interaction between vehicles to further improve safety. 

For example, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications could allow cars to share information about their speed and location with other vehicles. 

This would create 360-degree awareness for each car, helping drivers understand where others are driving around them and predicting accidents before they happen.

Do smarter cars make drivers safer?

Overall, there is statistical evidence that smart car technologies make roads safer and reduce crashes. A 2019 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that police-reported crashes and insurance claims decrease anywhere from 7% to 78%, depending on the technology. 

Blind spot recognition was the safety feature that performed the worst, and rear automatic braking performed the best.

NHTSA data predict that safety statistics will improve even more significantly once V2V communication technology becomes widely available. The agency estimates that 615,000 crashes and 1,366 traffic fatalities could have been prevented by this technology had it already been available.

Different types of accident prevention technologies

  • Forward collision avoidance: In this system, a car's warning systems signal the driver when he or she is getting too close to a car ahead and is in danger of causing an accident. This system has proven to be very beneficial in warning drivers of potential accidents, thus reducing the number of insurance claims.

  • Adaptive Headlights: These headlights are equipped with sensors that detect when you move with the steering wheel to make a turn. The beam is then adjusted according to your speed and direction of travel to ensure the light is shining in the direction you are going, not just straight ahead. According to the HLDI, liability claims for property damage have decreased by more than 10% for drivers with adaptive headlights.

  • Lane Keeping Assist: Using cameras, this technology detects potential collisions when a car changes lanes. By detecting lane markings, it aims to avoid the blind spots that so often occur. Lane departure warning systems are associated with increased claims under liability insurance policies for collisions and property damage. Due to false warnings, drivers may ignore the times when the system warns them of a real hazard.

Do smarter cars make drivers safer?

How accident avoidance technology can help your insurance company

The better vehicles perform on various tests, the more weight the results carry in the eyes of insurance companies. 

As the tests become more advanced, they also provide a better standard for consumers buying a new car. You just have to be willing to pay some extra for the added safety net. 

Sometimes these systems can add as much as $4,000 or more to the final price. If the results are anywhere near as good as when they were first created, it could be worth it.

It's already known that driving a safe car leads to lower insurance rates. For example, many auto insurers offer discounts of 3% to 7% just for equipping cars with passenger airbags and antilock brakes.

These safety features may seem outdated compared to the latest safety technology, but they still help save lives and prevent accidents. 

If insurers are still offering discounts for safety features like antilock brakes in 2013, you can imagine the discounts motorists will receive in 10 years when more vehicles with this safety technology are on the road. 

Even better, the benefits of such technology, if it works, are almost impossible to quantify. We may not be flying around in spaceships as earlier cartoonists have portrayed, but we're certainly one step closer to major technological breakthroughs when it comes to cars and driving.

Of course, such features could "enable" drivers to engage in bad driving habits. New technologies like these are fantastic, but you shouldn't rely on them to make you a better driver. 

You still need to be aware of road conditions and the people around you. This is especially true since it'll be several years before the average vehicle on the road has safety features like these. 

Older vehicles without this technology will be phased out, and automakers will figure out how to incorporate such safety features into most new vehicles cheaply and efficiently. 

When these cars hit the road, there will be a period when the new and the old meet in the middle and coexist, so it'll be important to be confident in your safety as a driver and view the new safety features as a "perk" that helps you be the ultimate safe driver. 

If drivers rethink their driving habits, become safer drivers, and at the same time have access to such safety premiums, policyholders will have one of the best combinations ever to get cheaper premiums. Now if only the IIHS and automakers could do something about the overpopulation of deer.

Cost of smart car insurance

When it comes to paying the insurance bill, a smart car might be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's been statistically proven that these technologies can improve vehicle safety and reduce claims. On the other hand, vehicles with smart technologies are more expensive to repair if the car is damaged in an accident. 

For this reason, insurance premiums may be higher for certain types of vehicles with advanced technologies, although some insurers offer discounts for built-in safety systems. Example: While replacing a headlight on a conventional car costs only $200, a newer adaptive headlight can cost up to $2,000.

The good news is that smart car rates will likely come down over time. This will be the case as the technology becomes cheaper and drivers get used to driving with accident avoidance aids. Because the technology is still so new, there's little data on how drivers are using the new systems.

The conclusion

  • Smart cars use technological systems such as automatic braking and lane departure warning systems to avoid accidents.
  • Overall, smart car technology has been shown to make roads safer by reducing accidents and insurance claims.

  • Despite the lower risk of accidents, insurance premiums can be higher for smart car drivers because parts are much more expensive to replace than traditional vehicles.

Purchasing a smart car with crash detection technology can help reduce the risk of accidents, which in turn reduces the likelihood that you'll need to file a claim. 

However, because smart cars can be more expensive to repair, discounts for safety features may not fully offset a potentially higher insurance premium. 

Although the emerging data is promising, insurers haven't yet identified enough long-term cost reductions to insure cars with advanced technologies at lower rates. 

If you receive a quote for a new smart car that's higher than expected, you should still shop around to see if other insurers are willing to offer you a better deal. The savings associated with smart cars ultimately come down to a lower risk of accidents and injuries.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post



Contact Form