uk fuel cardsFor decades, vehicles consisted of little more than four wheels, a couple of seats and a horn to warn the plebeians of your approach. Now though, even the most basic new car is littered with more gadgets and up-to-the-minute technology than the Starship Enterprise. While some of these devices are about as superfluous as a prosthetic swim bladder, others have become near enough vital. Here are the five motoring innovations that we feel we could never live without…

Air conditioning

If you’ve ever driven an old car in a hot climate, you’ll know how essential climate control has become. While the very first motorists sat atop exposed steel carriages that could whisk them to and from the local haberdashers at a bracing 5mph, today we are encased in sweltering glass boxes. Praises be to air-con then, whose tireless whirrings can keep us comfortable even in the hottest Mediterranean summer…

Seatbelts

While drivers have only been required to wear seatbelts by law since the 1970s, the technology itself has been around in one form or another since 1885 according to the US Patent’s Office, which means they pre-date the automobile itself, bewilderingly… The modern crop of inertia reel seatbelts allow drivers and their passengers to have full freedom of movement whilst in their vehicles but will also arrest forward momentum effectively in a crash. A simple but elegant solution worthy of Occam’s Razor, seatbelts have saved countless lives over the years.

Satellite navigation

Sat-Nav, isn’t a foolproof solution yet – we’ve all seen lorries forced down narrow country lanes and cars plunged into rivers that the devices emphatically deny exist – but it’s getting there. Grappling with an enormous map on the dashboard whilst lunging perilously from lane to lane on the motorway is thankfully a thing of the past; Sat-Navs sit nicely in our eyeline and even prompt us when to turn off in the voice of our favourite celebrity.

Audio entertainment

When the world’s first car, the Benz Velo, was released in 1894 the only way you could listen to music whilst behind the tiller was to hire your favourite harpsichord player to sit beside you. Now though, we have sophisticated surround sound systems designed to complement the unique acoustic characteristics of our vehicles perfectly. We can even link our mp3 players to the stereo, carrying thousands of tracks with us on every journey instead of cramming a couple of smashed CD cases into the glove box.

Crumple zones

Before the invention of crumple zones, when a vehicle crashed into another vehicle or a solid object like a tree, it would stop in an instant, transferring all of that destructive energy into your fragile body. Now though, stringent crash testing and modern technological processes mean that vehicles absorb most of the energy of an impact. This means that your car is likely to be a write-off from even a relatively low-speed crash, but at least you’re more likely to walk away from it uninjured.

All of these innovations have enriched and improved the daily lives of motorists, and at UK Fuel Cards we believe that our services have a similar effect when it comes to topping up your tank, so why not check them out? If you liked our rundown of the five best in-car innovations, go to UK Fuel Cards blog to read our guide to the five worst..

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