There is no question that winter adds an entirely different set of challenges to West Michigan drivers over the long, lingering months it’s reign of snow, sleet and freezing rain powder the roadways. And if that’s not bad enough, add to the slick roads a blanket of darkness that envelopes Grand Rapids in the absence of daylight savings. But it’s not all bad news for drivers… new safety features and advancements have helped create safer vehicles for Michigan drivers.
Traction control is designed to limit wheel slippage during acceleration, particularly on wet, snow-covered or icy roads. Many modern vehicles employ a form of electronic control to regulate power delivered to the wheels helping to eliminate wheel slippage. They do this by utilizing sensors used by the anti-lock brake system to continuously detect the speed of each wheel. If the system detects a wheel spinning faster than others, which often happens on slippery, snowy roads, it automatically prompts the brakes of that wheel in order to slow it down. Some traction control systems also apply engine reduction to take power away from the wheel.
With far fewer hours of daylight in Winter and the reduced visibility during snowfall, freezing rain or sleet, the use of headlights becomes even more important to drivers on the busy, urban streets of Grand Rapids and the surrounding rural areas in West Michigan. While Automatic Headlights take away the necessity of remembering to turn on your headlights by doing the work for you, Adaptive Headlights are an active safety feature designed to make driving at night or in low-light conditions safer by increasing visibility around curves and over hills. They do this by reacting to the steering, speed and elevation of the car and automatically adjusting to illuminate the road ahead. Meaning, when the car turns right, the headlights automatically angle to the right or left when the vehicle is turned left.
As discussed above, the combination of winter weather and shorter daylight hours can wreak havoc on a normal day’s commute. Advancements in not only headlights but taillights have helped make Grand Rapids drivers safer. LED Taillights are not only brighter than their halogen counterparts, they also last longer and in turn, keep you safer. LED Taillights are easier to see in rain, fog, snow, sleet and freezing rain.
Forward Collision Warning/Auto-Braking
Forward Collision Warning systems and Automatic Braking systems work at high speeds by combining braking with sensors to detect how far and how fast the vehicle yours is following behind is moving. By doing so, it can adjust the speed of your vehicle and slow down if necessary to avoid an accident. While some systems only work to slow a vehicle down, others are able to stop a vehicle completely. Since fatal crashes are more likely to occur at higher speeds, Automatic Braking Systems can help save lives, reduce the severity of damage and lower the cost of repairs. When road conditions deteriorate, visibility can often be affected by falling snow, freezing rain and sleet. Auto-braking can help vehicles slow down before drivers become aware of upcoming hazards or problems.
Automatic Windshield Wipers
Quite possibly, one of the most essential requirements to driving safely is the ability to see clearly any obstacles in your path, not to mention the actual path before you. Automatic Windshield Wipers assist in that mission by detecting moisture on the windshield and clearing it off before it becomes an issue. It does this by using an optical sensor mounted inside the windshield near the rearview mirror to detect how much of the infrared light is being directed back to it. As West Michigan is often impacted by lake effect snowfall, making Automatic Windshield Wipers even more helpful by clearing off moisture before it freezes to your windshield and windshield wipers.
Electronic Stability Control
Electronic Stability Control is an important safety feature for all weather situations, but it is especially important when roads become slippery from snow and ice. Electronic Stability Control, or ESC, works by combining sensors and a computerized control system to monitor and apply the brakes to individual wheels and reduce engine power when necessary in order to maintain control of the vehicle and avoid an accident. Electronic Stability control helps vehicles to avoid spinning out of control and can even help prevent rollovers. When roads are icy from snowfall or freezing rain, this safety feature can help reduce the likelihood of singular vehicle or multi-vehicle accidents by keeping vehicles from leaving the roadway and instead, help drivers to recover faster in order to maintain the direction of the vehicle.
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