When we are learning to drive, instructor always reminds us to engage the parking brake and, if car has an automatic transmission, leave it in park. However, many drivers forget that as soon as they get their licence and thousands of roll-away accidents happen every year. Fortunately, Ford has a solution.
The new Ford Fusion has a very nice feature – a rotary gear shift dial, which is kin of similar to the one found in Jaguars, except Ford’s is a bit more sophisticated. There is an extensive network of sensors in the car, armed to recognize driver leave the vehicle. In that case, if the car is in a wrong gear, gear shift dial will return to “park” position by itself. Therefore, roll-away accidents can be prevented. Ford says this technology will provide an extra peace of mind for the driver.
Roll away accidents are actually a serious problem. We have all seen videos of this happening online and laughed at them, but in reality this type of accident can cause some serious damage. Even if the car is moving at a slow speed, without the driver controlling it, it can easily collide with other vehicles, road signs or even people and consequences can be pretty substantial. The new Ford’s rotary gear shift dial brought this opportunity up to prevent such accidents from happening, Mark Zyskowski, global e-shift systems technical expert, said: “We thought about what we could add without getting in the way of normal day-to-day scenarios, and all agreed that a feature to help confirm Park is selected when exiting the vehicle seemed really worthwhile”. And this system is quite clever.
It can recognize that driver turned off the engine while rolling and it will select neutral until car slows down enough to engage parking gear. “P” position will be automatically chosen if driver unlatches his seatbelt and opens the door, or opens the door and then unlatches the seatbelt. If only one of these conditions is matched, the system will not stop the vehicle from rolling – the driver might open the door for a second to free his coat or he might unlatch his belt to have some freedom to park the car better. The same system will also prevent drivers from engaging “reverse” accidentally.
This is a very simple, but very important piece of technology. Ford says that every year 2,000 people are injured in roll-away accidents. Preventing at least part of these accidents would be a good start.