Over the years since cars were first invented there have been a lot of changes and advances in technology that have gone into making cars what they are today. While attending a Bronx driving school, you’ll learn how to operate and drive a car safely, but you might not learn about the history of driving technology that has improved cars over the years. Below are some of the driving technology and safety features that have been developed and we enjoy today!
Prior to 1911, you could not just get in your car, turn the key in the ignition and expect your car to start. In fact, before the electric ignition was invented, starting a car was actually quite dangerous, as there were different methods that would achieve the same end result. Some of the first cars required a hand crank to start the engine, others used gunpowder cylinders to get the engine running. Thankfully, in 1911, the first electric ignition was installed in a Cadillac and the rest is history.
For some it might be hard to image the days when you did not have a radio in your car to keep you entertained while driving. This all changed in 1930 when the Galvin brothers invented the first car radio. At the time though, their new invention wasn’t a cheap option, so most cars still went without a radio. In 1930, a car radio cost $130 which was roughly a quarter of the price of the car!
If you’ve ever driven a car where the power steering has gone out, you know how much upper body strength is required to turn the steering wheel. In 1956, thanks to hydraulics, the need for upper body muscles was no longer required to safely navigate your car around turns and curves. By 1960, roughly a quarter of all cars were equipped with the new power steering technology.
The most important thing that you can do when you first get into your car is to put your seat belt on, and ensure that any passengers with you also put their seat belts on. Because there has been a big emphasis placed on the importance of wearing a seat belt, it is challenging to think that there ever was a time where they were not standard in cars. In 1959, Nils Bohlin invented the seat belt which first appeared in a Volvo. It wasn’t until 1984, 25 years later, that different states in the U.S. started passing laws that required both drivers and passengers to wear seat belts when in a vehicle.
1971—Anti-lock Brakes (ABS)
The purpose of ABS brakes is to help a vehicle stop more quickly in slippery road conditions. Prior to becoming common in newer vehicles, ABS brakes were first introduced on aircraft. In 1971, Chrysler and Bendix were the first developers of what was considered to be the first true four-wheel version of ABS for cars. Many other manufacturers followed suite soon after, with ABS being a standard safety feature today.
Airbags had been experimented with long before 1984, but it wasn’t until this year that they became a common feature in new vehicles. In 1984, Ford offered airbags as an additional add on option to vehicles, and in 1988, Chrysler was including them as a standard feature. The airbag is a lifesaving feature in vehicles, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly 2,000 lives are saved every year due to airbags.
2000—GPS Navigation Systems
Prior to 2000, paper maps were what you would use to find your way around. Nowadays, we simply input our destination into a GPS system, and listen to the instruction as they are told to us while driving. GPS navigation systems have been around prior to 2000, but it wasn’t until then President Clinton signed a bill that ordered the military to stop scrambling satellite signals that GPS navigation systems in cars were born!
While it may be fun to look back and see how cars have evolved and changed over the years, it is important to remember that cars will continue to change with new technology that is developed and new safety features that are invented. Drive Rite Academy, a Bronx driving school, will remain consistent in teaching safe driving skills for all drivers. Contact Drive Rite Academy today to sign up for quality driver’s education.