Driving a car is dangerous. We all know it. You are, essentially, in a fancy tin can hurtling along the roads at many tens of miles an hour, dodging and weaving between other equally fast-moving tin cans driven by people whose ability at driving you have no real way of verifying. When you think about it, especially considering all the near misses, it is amazing that there aren’t yet more crashes and fatalities in the motoring world.
A major reason for so (comparatively) few injuries and fatalities in automotive crashes is, of course, the amazing advances made in car safety over the past 50 odd years. Cars have gone from quite a dangerous hazard to every single element being tailored to make it as safe as possible, and the various design features give us more of a fighting chance in a crash than we have ever had before.
Of all the car brands, Volvo is most synonymous in my mind with safety. I grew up with parents who drove Volvo estates like they were going out of fashion, and the sturdiness meant it felt like we were driving around in a car as safe as an armoured tank. It probably wasn’t quite that safe, but, Volvos definitely have their safety reputation for a reason – and now they are determined to take this further than any other car manufacturer.
In fact, Volvo have a pretty remarkable vision – that no one should be killed or injured in a Volvo by the year 2020. Noone. At all. In just 9 years time.
How are they achieving this amazing aim? Well, mainly by crashing 400 cars a year. The Volvo Safety Centre is all wired up with more cameras than you could ever deem necessary, which observe all areas and angles of the crash so that they can be analysed and responded to. They crash them at various speeds, and in various ways – such as into other cars, into full rolls and more. Then they use all these stats and all that data to develop some pretty exciting tech, both to help in the incidence of a crash, and to prevent it from happening at all. These include things like a two-stage integrated booster cushion with a force limiting safety belt, City Safety, the Driver Alert System and the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), amongst plenty of other tech and design changes that should make you increasingly safer and safer.
What do you think? Will Volvo realise their vision?
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