The History and Evolution of Automobile Safety

The advent of cars witnessed a series of ever-changing moments we call evolution. Car safety as a concept also had series of ever dynamic moments with different realities at different points in time. Automobiles never stopped or slowed movement after the first one was made in the 1800s. A lot of these improvements have been vividly revealed and vocal especially in the area of safety.

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It all started when Ford produced a car, the Ford Model T which was to be the first affordable American car. It went at a maximum speed of 40mph. This is well opposed to the realities of vehicles today. Some cars can now move well over 100mph.

The 40mph per hour might seem very safe, but it indeed triggered crashes. The car did not have features like anti-lock brakes, seatbelts and so many other safety features built in vehicles today, so it was perilous. Research shows that a lot of crashes that occur today happen with cars that have no inbuilt safety features. Well-developed Driving programs we have today like the Driving lessons Dublin barely existed in that age to minimize accidents on the road

Here are some notable events that occurred over time;

The introduction of safety glasses

Several cars had already taken to the road as at this time; cars were out on a commercial scale to whoever could afford it. Accidents began to occur, and it was not unusual for the driver to launch out in the open air through the windshield. A lot of lawsuits were filed against Ford accusing them of being responsible for accidents relating to the windshield. EDT driving lessons Dublin available today will offer professional driving lessons to help prevent occurrences like this.

News also was that Henry Ford and his friend also had accidents involving a flying glass. We might not be able to point at with total certainty at what inspired Ford, but he felt the Ford car model was due for a safer windshield. This decision giver witnessed some difficulties. A lot of demands were coming in for glass-enclosed vehicles, and the price of glass had consequently increased.

Clarence Avery, a worker at Ford, began to work with a British glass expert on how to produce a cost-effective glass and as years went by, they were able to arrive at a solution. This was by the end of 1919.

Fast forward to the 1920s there were lots of improvements. A particular development was more beneficial to the police force; they were called police flyers which had bulletproof windshields.

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By the end of 1939, first had already adopted a laminated windscreen first witnessed in the goggle masks in the First World War. The laminated glass was “indestructo glass” and used by Ford.

Crash test of 1934

This was the first time general motors’ in the year 1934. This was done by slamming cars against barriers that were already stationed somewhere. The drivers would let themselves out before the crash. It is unlike the more developed crash tests we have today whereby cars are attached to chains and pulled against a barrier.

As the years went by other car producers like auto union started also conducting rollover tests. The first crash test ever which as carried out by General Motors held at Milford proving ground coated in Michigan. The vehicle which was bereft of any human presence would be filed down a steep to increase acceleration, and in some instances, any human involved would alight before the collision occurs.

There was a burning interest in making cars very strong and sturdy than actually protecting the drivers, passengers and the occupants generally. The act of crash testing that would seem like a common phenomenon these days was a big deal.

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1952 crumple zone

In the year 1952, Mercedes pioneered the advent of a crumple zone which absorbs and cushions the impact of crash; keeping it in the crumple zone encompassing the passenger’s side. Bela Barenyi birthed the idea that it was safer for people to be in a vehicle that absorbs impact. Barenyi developed a particular sequence and configuration of car components such that kinetic energy was kept in case of a crash.

The steering column and other very hefty components were ordered in a manner such that they could not heighten the effect of the impact if a crash occurred. The dashboard was also restructured based on this idea. The edges were made with soft materials so that they easily yielded.

1958 Anti-lock braking system

The anti-lock brake system also referred to as ABS is a braking system that uses the principle of the threshold braking system and cadence braking system. These principles were in practice before the ABS came to be. ABS offers a significantly improved vehicle control and enables smooth movement on unsuitable kinds of grounds. 1958 witnessed the first significant ABS called Maxaret. It was developed in Britain and installed in Jensen FF 1966 sedans.

The ABS was a product of World War 2 and was first used in aircraft. The mechanical system was designed to detect spikes in the pressure of hydraulic pressure and equalize pressures.

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1959 3 point seat belt

Nils Bohlin is the inventor of the three-point seat belt. This invention is indeed a giant leap in automobile safety. The inventor was born in 1920 in Sweden.

Before Nils came up with this great invention, only two-point seat belts were popularly used, and their popularity remained especially pronounced amidst race car drivers. A strap went across the body and the other over the abdomen. This style, however, still couldn’t prevent internal injuries on an event of fatal crashes.

Volvo hired Nils. Before then he had worked on airplanes of the Saab fighter in safety related department. He particularly developed their ejector seat belts. He designed the three-point-seat-belt while working with Volvo in months. The three-point seat belt protected the upper and lower body with straps connected at the level of the hip and buckled below the hip.

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1987 Traction control system

This is another significant automobile safety event. The introduction of traction control by Mercedes Benz and Toyota changed the automobile safety scenes. The introduction of traction has enabled vehicles to navigate safely on slippery surfaces. A vehicle without the traction system is susceptible to slip on snow, ice, etc.  Traction is very crucial on surfaces with friction.

From 1994 to 1998 a lot of legislation globally recognized were made to enhance and promote automobile safety. Trends were also naturally set and all cars typically just needed to possess some features.

  • In 1994, it became a standard that all vehicles be crash tested. In 1996, brake assist became a regular or universal feature in cars.
  • In 1998, airbags were to be found as stipulated by the law in every vehicle in the United States.

From then till now, a good number of safety features have been included to vehicles in their numbers. A lot of inbuilt smart alerts like a warning of first lane departure, the introduction of the pedestrian airbag and so many more have been introduced.

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The evolution of the automobile world is ever in motion. Current developments and improvements are not rare phenomena in the automobile world. The competition amongst several brands also significantly drives these improvements.

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