The ubiquity of drivers talking, texting, and reading content on their smartphones has led many people to believe that wireless broadband internet and cars shouldn’t mix. While states are rightfully cracking down on this dangerous practice, there are so many different ways that Wi-Fi can make driving a safer activity for everyone. Driver distractions continue to be one of the most dangerous problems everywhere, but these groundbreaking advances are showing how engineers can move beyond seeing the internet as only a tool of distraction, and use it to enhance safety and bring us the cars of the future.
Better, more reliable GPS
Drivers who are confident about their route make fewer mistakes on the road than those people who are constantly unsure of where they are going. Making abrupt changes in the car’s path and trying to compensate for missed turns are a recipe for disaster, as it is impossible for other drivers to predict these actions. By equipping cars with more reliable built-in GPS systems that update automatically and include traffic conditions, more drivers will always have a guide who can get them safely to their destination.
Some communities are experimenting with smart parking technology that will transmit available parking spots to a GPS-enabled app. If this technology becomes commonplace, not only will it ease the frustration of many city drivers searching in vain at the last minute, it will increase safety by decreasing the distractions that come with searching frantically for an open spot and ignoring other drivers on the road.
People are going to continue to talk on their cell phones while driving, so at least some automakers are trying to make it safer when they do. By having an easily initiated connection between the driver’s mobile device and the car’s onboard computer, drivers can make calls, send messages, and even operate their music library using voice commands.
This one may seem frivolous, but anyone with kids knows how much of a distraction they can be when they run out of things to hold their attention (especially on long trips!). Tablets have been a great solution to this problem for several years, but you can only download so much content at one time, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be interested in it anyway. Cars with embedded Wi-Fi connections allow them to stream their favorite programs so you can keep your eyes where they need to be.
More Robust Security Systems
Wireless Internet technology is making it more possible than ever to locate and retrieve stolen vehicles, giving car owners a little extra peace of mind in the event that they are victimized. Also, modern connected security systems can transmit info to the authorities immediately when they are breached.
The federal government, via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is working on a program that allows vehicles to communicate with each other in an effort to prevent as many as 80% of the crashes that currently occur. This technology, known as Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC), has existed for a few years now, but the feds are currently working on regulations that would define how this is implemented on a large scale. It’s a lofty goal, to be sure, but even if their estimates are very optimistic this initiative could seriously reduce the number of vehicle-related injuries sustained every year.
The biggest factors that make driving so dangerous are that humans are fallible, cars are heavy, and they travel at high speeds. So what would happen if we removed the human element from the situation completely? It’ll be a long time before we see this on a wide scale, but streets filled with automated cars that are all connected to each other by a network could completely revolutionize traffic safety.
These innovative features are incredible, and they signal a path to the future of driving and safer roads for everyone. However, there is no substitute for being a great defensive driver, so sign up for a comedy traffic school course today! Whether you need to brush up on the rules of the road, potentially have a citation dismissed from your driving record, or be eligible for a discount from your insurance provider, traffic school and defensive driving classes are the answer you’ve been waiting for.