Good news! The number of traffic fatalities has fallen now for the fifth year in a row, according to reports by LA Times. Car accident fatalities have fallen to its lowest level since 1949, even while driving increased by nearly 21 billion more miles in 2010 than the year before.
That means one death will occur for every 100 million miles driven. That’s a vast improvement over car accidents in the 1970s. Then, over four deaths occurred per 100 million miles.
“I think people really are aware of safety, and people really are aware of personal responsibility,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These things will only increase our ability to reduce deaths on the road, so I’m certainly encouraged by the trend.”
Top 5 Car Safety Features You Can’t Live Without
The following top 5 life-saving car safety features are ones you – literally – cannot live without. What once was a luxury is now a standard in most vehicles sold today. So forget about Facebook in your car and glove box WiFi—go for the good stuff that will actually save your life.
#5 – Rear Sensors
Many vehicles are now outfitted with rear-park assist. This useful technology will send a beeping signal or a flashing light when an object is in the path of the vehicle backing up. According to KidsandCars.org, 50 children are backed over weekly. Rear sensors or backup cameras are an important life-saving technology that every car should have—for all households, with or without children!
#4 – Traction Control
Traction control prevents wheels from slipping after ordinary stop-and-go driving. It is particularly beneficial to drivers in inclement weather like rain, ice or snow. Traction control is also a subtle technology that allows the driver to garner control over the vehicle rather than having to feather the gas pedal after a routine stop. Traction control helps keep the driver safe through tough elements like snow, ice, and first rainfalls of the season—common times of the year when injury accidents happen most.
#3 – Anti-lock brakes
Many cars are equipped with anti-lock braking systems that help prevent brake lock-up. This allows the driver to harness more control over their vehicle instead of resorting to brake-pumping on wet, slippery, or icy road conditions. Whereas car brakes could lock up, causing the car to slide off the road, technology has now prevented this issue with anti-lock braking systems.
#2 – Side-curtain airbags
When you’re shopping for the best and safest family car, you’ll likely consider safety ratings to determine which vehicle is best for protecting your family. Frontal crash ratings are popularly discussed, but it’s actually side-impact car accidents that pose the greatest risk of injury to those occupying the vehicle. In response, many vehicle manufacturers have made side airbags a necessary standard.
#1 – Seat Belts
Above all, wearing your seat belt is the most important contributor to life-saving technology. While a seat belt is void of the ‘bells-and-whistle’ factor, it’s so important to wear that choosing not to wear one wipes out any benefit to other car safety features. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 15,000 lives were saved from seat belt use alone. It’s no surprise that buckling up is your #1 armor against traffic fatalities.