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Safety Features Leading to Car Accidents?

Many new vehicles that hit the market come equipped with expensive options. These options often include new technologies that are implemented in an effort to help the drivers avoid car accidents. These safety features are usually included in ads, hoping that drivers looking for a new vehicle will want a car that will make them feel safe when on the road.

However, a recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety took a closer look at the effectiveness of these safety options. While certain features did limit accidents, some may have actually led to an increase in accidents.

The study focused on crashes from 2000 to 2011, depending upon when the vehicle started including one of the options. The research was focused on property damage and injury claims in an effort to learn which options were most effective.

Adaptive headlights and forward collision avoidance systems were determined to be the safety features that led to reduced numbers of car accidents. Adaptive headlights can move in a direction in which a vehicle will be turning. This can help drivers see any potential hazards before they complete the turn. Collision avoidance systems can apply the vehicle's brakes without the input of the driver, if a crash is detected.

One feature was deemed to be not as helpful. Lane-departure alerts warn drivers that they are approaching the center line or might be going off of the road. The researchers noted that these alerts may have even led to an increase in accidents, although further study will be conducted.

Those who drive vehicles with safety features need to be aware that despite all of the technological advances that have been made, it is still extremely important to practice safe driving habits. Your car may help you avoid some accidents, but it is up to you to be alert while behind the wheel.

Source: New York Times "Analysis Suggests Some Collision-Warning Systems May Be Ineffective" Cheryl Jensen, July 3, 2012.

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