Safety and tech we take for granted

But imagine a time where parking sensors didn’t exist and the biggest development in terms of safety was seat belts.

It’s the past developments of features like the seat belt and even starter motors that without those discoveries, wouldn’t have led on us to modern day advances like stop/start, cruise control and even starting the engine from your own home.

Let’s have a look at the motoring inventions that have paved the way.

Starter Motors

Before the starter motor, most cars would need to be hand cranked. Not always as easy as it sounds. Get it wrong and a broken wrist or even a broken arm could be the result.

It was Clyde J. Coleman who invented and patented the first electric starter in America in 1903. In 2018, remote starters are proving more and more popular, so that you can start you car from inside your house to warm everything up or get the air-con working. Just remember that you need to get in and actually drive it.

More standard engine features include start/stop technology which allows the car to come to complete stop, saving fuel when stationary.

Tyres

We take a smooth ride for granted today, but wooden spoked wheels with metal rims were what the first cars rode on.

It was John Dunlop in 1887 who first developed practical tyres for his son’s bicycle. In 1890 he was manufacturing car tyres from a factory in Belfast and it was in 1946 that Michelin invented the radial tyre. Today the tyre choice is enormous with run-flat tyres and nitrogen gas filled tyres becoming more common place, along with tyres specifically for summer and winter, improving handling and stopping distance all year round.

With the developments of tyres, new safety features like Brake Assist Systems can rely not only on cameras and radar technology but the reliance on the tyres themselves.

Seat Belts

It was following World War II that a greater focus on car safety began. Car design slowly changed, and during the 1950s seat belts became an optional extra with more and more manufacturers. It was after the Saab GT 750, displayed at the 1958 New York Motor Show featuring seat belts as standard that the practice became commonplace.

In the UK advertising encouraged drivers and passengers to use them on every journey, and in 1983, it became law for drivers and front seat passengers to belt up. Today, all passengers need to wear seat belts with many coming with ISOFIX points making fitting child seats much easier.

But there is a down side to all this new technology. A recent survey revealed that it is evolving faster than the typical driver’s understanding.

It highlights the importance of a good dealer, who’s willing to spend the time with you when you buy the car (and perhaps at a later date), to take you through all that amazing tech.

But as we’ve seen, this new technology can help make driving easier and safer, and is definitely here to stay.

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