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Top 10 modern car safety innovations

There's no denying the importance of seat belts, airbags, disc brakes and other basic safety devices. In fact, they've helped save countless lives for decades. It's just that progress keeps yielding more and more advanced systems and technologies, leading drivers to take some older ones for granted. Heck, even stability and traction control are now yesterday's news.

In recent years, automakers and their partners have gone to great lengths to develop highly sophisticated safety features that take into account the faster, busier world we live in and the growing threat of driving distractions created by our new “connected” lifestyles. A few of them are what some people may call gadgets (head-up displays), others are annoyances (vibrating seat bolsters), but many are clever solutions that make a real difference.

Until autonomous vehicles take our streets by storm, here are the top 10 car safety innovations on the market right now, in no particular order:

LED headlights and taillights
Laser headlights aren't quite here yet, although BMW and Audi are working hard on it, so the next-best thing is LED headlights. These crisper, more powerful units make vehicles easier to see by other drivers while lighting the road up to 300 metres ahead for superior visibility. You can even find them on entry-level cars like the 2014 Corolla.

Although LEDs currently fall a little short of the brightness achieved by high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, they hit maximum brightness within a millionth of a second. When used in brake and indicator lights they’re said to improve the reaction time of other road users by around 30%.