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Posted on 08-15-2016

New Vehicle Safety Features Help to Cut Down On Baltimore Auto Accidents

As many of my avid blog post readers and followers already know, I am a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends the majority of my time reading about, researching, and providing care for Baltimore auto accident injuries. Typically patients present with whiplash injuries which manifest as headaches, neck pain, and back pain. Occasionally we see more severe injuries such as subdural hematoma and spinal cord injuries, but these are indeed rare in our clinic.

I'd like to deviate from the normal form of the blog post where I discuss intricacies of what happens after a Baltimore resident is injured, and instead flip the dialogue to how to avoid sustaining Baltimore auto accident injuries in the first place. I have been reading some car magazines to learn more about accident avoidance mechanisms and I thought I might share some with you. For those looking to upgrade to their next vehicle, these options may well be worth the money, as they look to cut down on or eliminate crashes (and therefore Baltimore auto accident injuries) moving forward. In no particular order, here are a few of the new gadgets that you may want to look at before you drive off in your new vehicle.

1) Blind spot detection - This features allows a visual cue (flashing light) to indicate to you the driver that another vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist is in your blind spot. We've all had a "near miss" moment where we attempt to change lanes only to suddenly jerk the wheel back to avoid a collision. This should help that some. One potential problem is it may flash so frequently as vehicles pass that we may become numb to it and ignore it over time. Still, it seems useful. I wouldn't avoid turning my head as we were taught in driver's education, but it is a nice add-on feature that can definitely help to present some lane-change crashes.

2) Lane assist - This is a feature that allows you to stay in your lane and alerts you as you drift out of your lane and into another lane. The vehicle would be automatically re-centered back into its lane by having the vehicle's onboard computer turn the wheel slightly. I think this could be somewhat useful on long "autopilot" drives up and down the coast, especially if you are getting drowsy. I'd be nervous about it not allowing me to change lanes quickly if enabled, but I like the idea of it.

3) Rear View Camera/Parking Assist - This one will be of particular interest to city dwellers such as myself. By now many new vehicles allow you to "upgrade" to a rear view camera due to their simplicity and their ability to cut down on vehicle crashes while parking and cramming into tight spaces. I personally don't know how I ever lived without one. It is believed that by May of 2018 all new vehicles manufactured in the US will need these onboard, but until then they are simply an option worth pursuing. Some of these cameras allow just for a simple image of what's behind the vehicle. Others allow for sensors that trip if there is an impending impact, and others still demonstrate where the vehicle would travel to in real time based on the way the tires are currently turned. Other cameras take the game one step further by letting you see to the right and left side of your vehicle so you can see how close to the curb you are when you parallel park. Obviously the sky is the limit based on the number and location of cameras. I don't see any draw back of these systems as they will generally be in play only when at low speed, reverse, and parking. I can't wait to see them as default equipment on all cars of of 2018. I would strongly recommend that everyone exercise their option to purchase a camera system.

4) Heads Up Display - This is a feature that was only once available on the Milennium Falcon. A small projector reflects your vehicles speed, integrated navigation, and speed limit slightly above your steering wheel. This allows for your eyes to remain on the road as you navigate your directions. I really like this system in a vehicle that I drove, because I found that it kept me looking straight ahead rather than continually glancing to my vehicle's navigation and my instrument panel. The one negative that I experienced was that with polarized sun glasses I would lose visual contact based on the position of my head. This is probably something that can get fixed. I only test drove one vehicle with this problem so I am not sure if it is an industry problem or if it is an early adopter problem.

5) Rear-End Prevention Technology - As just about everyone has heard most rear-end auto accidents are caused by operator error rather than drug/alcohol/weather issues. These technologies utilize a sonar-type signal to automatically slow a vehicle down in an attempt to avoid a crash before it occurs. I think in theory these technologies could really cut down on the number of collisions, but I am afraid that if they are not perfected they will cause vehicles to stop short and will actually cause INCREASED occupant injuries. I think they need more time to develop and mature but I think the idea is really solid and that once perfected I think they will work well to cut down on whiplash injuries.

One thing is for certain- technology can add to the fun of driving and it can add to the prevention of Baltimore auto accident injuries. The negative consequence of all of this technology is that not all vehicles will have access to it. We, as vehicle operators, can not completely depend on technology to keep us safe. It is our responsibility to take proper precaution and attempt to avoid collisions.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured as a result of a Baltimore auto accident, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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