10 Inovações de Segurança do Carro

10 Car Safety Innovations
To fully appreciate how far things have come, you sometimes have to take a look back. Take car safety innovations, for example. Stark differences can be seen even between models of today and a few generations past. As some new cars boast infrared night vision, xenon and LED lights or run-flat tires, older ones are lucky to have padded dashboards and effective HVAC (both were optional in average cars not so long ago).

10. Brakes
Bens Patent Brakes
The 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen had only a handbrake to bring it to a halt from speed -- “speed” being all of about five miles per hour. Modern descendants of that earliest car can now stop themselves from far greater speeds in an emergency situation. What’s happened in between has been continual progress. Crude and finicky configurations evolved to drum and then disc brake setups, with milestones like power assist, anti-lock function and the aforementioned automatic activation.

9. Headrests
Euro-NCap
Hopefully, you’ll never need them for more than a makeshift pillow while dozing in the passenger seat, but it’s good to know they’ll literally save your neck. Phased in as an option on many cars of the 1960s, headrests were mandated in 1969. Early setups left a lot to be desired; for the average six-footer they were more upper-back rests than anything. With greater attention paid to occupant safety, the following years gave us better seat and headrest designs for front and rear passengers alike.


8. Windshield wipers

For every useful car safety innovation, it seems inevitable that someone will manage to find fault, however misguided. After Mary Anderson invented the lever-operated manual windshield wiper in 1903, some detractors grumbled about drivers being too easily distracted from the wipers’ motion. (Right, because rain on the glass only enhances driving ability.) Logic obviously prevailed. Wiper systems now feature automatic, intermittent and speed-sensitive operation while resisting aerodynamic lift.

7. Safety glass

We take auto glass for granted. Unless it’s damaged or dirty, it’s the car safety innovation we figuratively and literally look right through. There’s so much more to it than keeping wind and bugs out of your face. It’s been refined to actively help structural integrity. And when the breaking point is reached, it simply cracks or shatters into fragments instead of dagger-like shards, depending on the piece. Windshields are really a laminated sandwich; two layers of glass with a plastic layer between them, while most other windows of a car are of tempered construction.

6. Collapsible steering columns

A typical car of 50 years ago not only had a massive steering wheel with a metal horn rim, it connected to a steering column that was a rigid piece. So, in a frontal collision, the driver was effectively at the business end of a battering ram. Then about the time designers shrunk tailfins, engineers developed collapsible steering columns consisting of multiple parts. Rather than shooting toward the driver upon heavy impact, the column’s sections compacted like a telescope. A simple concept, but a car safety innovation that’s led to better living through less impaling.

5. Seat belts
Seat belts Euro-NCap
Seat belts are a car safety innovation older than the car itself, invented in the early 1800s. It’s all the more puzzling why they didn’t appear in cars until the 1949 Nash -- only then as optional equipment. Adaptation and acceptance has been slow. The 1960s addition of a separate shoulder belt was a step forward, but it took until the 1970s for mainstream adaptation of the modern three-point belt for front seat occupants. For rear-seat occupants, it wasn’t a common feature until the 1980s.

4. OnStar
OnStar by GM
OnStar by General Motors
Since 1996, GM-created OnStar has made robust technology simple and accessible. So, while detractors argue you can skip this car safety innovation and get by just as well with a cell and GPS, you probably can’t open your door when your keys are locked inside. In a crash, even if you find your phone, you may not have the wherewithal to call 911 and give coherent information. And there’s no way either can track and disable your stolen vehicle. OnStar does that and more, plus it’ll soon be available through Best Buy for retrofit in most cars.

3. Airbags
Envolve Airbags by Volvo
Like seat belts, airbags have come a long way in terms of function and public perception. The driver’s side airbag was a great idea when introduced as an option on select GM cars in 1974, but it was a tough sell at a time when the public barely used the seat belts that came standard. Time, refinement and no small amount of legislation have brought change for the better. Your car today could easily have more airbags than seats, with technology dictating not just whether they deploy, but how they do so.

2. Crumple zone design
Euro-NCap
Some consumers and even the media complain how easily cars sustain visual damage in a crash, especially compared to older models. As we see it, better for the car to absorb the energy than the occupants. This was dramatically demonstrated a couple years ago when Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) staged an offset head-on collision test between 2009 and 1959 Chevrolets.

1. Stability/traction control
ESP
In any given circumstance, there’s only so much grip. Even the most advanced car can’t create adhesion, but it can make the most of what’s available through stability control and traction control systems. Manufacturers collectively have an alphabet soup of abbreviations for their proprietary systems, but they’re essentially sophisticated descendants of the limited-slip differential, in principle. These car safety innovations minimise wheel spin through application of anti-lock brakes, throttle control and, even, engine timing. And it all happens simultaneously in a fraction of a second, resulting in dramatic handling improvements under adverse conditions.

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