New car technology to avoid collisions

March 15, 2012 7:50:00 PM PDT
A car in your blind spot is a common cause of accidents and one reason for an increasingly popular option in new vehicles: warning systems in this case, a light in the side view mirror alerting you before you turn or change lanes. It's part of an effort by automakers to improve safety beyond technology that's become standard such as airbags which protect you during a crash.

"This is going yet another step to avoid getting into the nasty situation at all in the first place," said Tom Mutchler, Consumer Reports.

Eyewitness News went to the Consumer Reports test track in Connecticut to check out a number of new features, such as forward collision avoidance.

An audible beep warns you if you've come too close to the car in front of you.

Then there's lane departure warning which can tell if a drowsy or distracted driver has drifted too far off course.

"This car will buzz the steering wheel which will hopefully wake you back up and you can steer back onto the road," Mutchler said.

Currently, cameras and radar are used to detect surrounding vehicles, but testing is underway on wireless technology that allows cars to communicate with each other.

"With vehicle to vehicle communication it knows exactly where the car is, it knows exactly the car's speed, there's no guess work involved, it's much more accurate," Mutchler said.

The transmitters would be built into new cars and available as add-on devices for older models. Even better, it promises to be much more affordable than today's technology which is generally offered as a pricey option on luxury models.

"The government estimates that over 80% of car crashes can be reduced or eliminated with vehicle communication," Mutchler said.

This means cars that get safer every year, will become even safer in years to come.

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