3 of the most interesting car safety features

Perfect safety ratings are all but standard in today's vehicles, but that doesn't mean car manufacturers are getting complacent. 

While all fleet managers will be familiar with airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control, there are a few more unique solutions in the works that answer questions you have probably never considered. 

For example: are crash protection solutions extensive enough? Are head and taillights really the best way to illuminate a car at night? Should cars be able to see in the dark?

If you've never asked yourselves any of these questions before, read on to find out just how far ahead today's car manufacturers are. 

1. Pre-Safe Sound

You'd think by now that all possible safety systems for crashes have been invented and perfected, but that's not the case. While features like airbags protect your body from collision damage in the even of an accident, what happens to your senses that are strained in the impact?

Mercedes has realised that deafening bangs often accompany car accidents and no other car manufacturer has tackled the issue - until now. 

An addition to Mercedes' already established Pre-Safe set of safety features, the Sound function is set to reduce the likelihood of accidents causing hearing damage. 

In the event that a Mercedes vehicle equipped with this technology detects an accident, a tone is emitted that causes part of the ear to flex, minimising the sound's impact. 

2. Glow-in-the-dark panels

It sounds like something out of a Pimp My Ride episode, but glow-in-the-dark panels could provide a whole new dimension to vehicle safety at night.

Currently, pretty much all vehicles are only identifiable by the front and back at night - where the points of illumination are positioned. A new patent filed by Ford shows that the American marque is looking to add panels that spread light from a small set of LEDs across a vehicle's bodywork, which is intended to create a glow-in-the-dark effect. 

3. Night vision

What once was the domain of military vehicles is now an important safety feature for drivers travelling after dark. 

The Mercedes equivalent uses infrared technology to provide a real time view of the road ahead, complementing the traditional headlights. This allows for greater visibility of hazards, keeping the driver and other motorists safe. 

It also includes thermal imaging technology, enabling the headlights to direct themselves at pedestrians.