Imagine inching along on a congested road, feeling like you need eight pairs of eyes to avoid unpredictable pedestrians, cyclists that silently sneak up and motorbikes that zip in, out and between lanes. This is a scene familiar to many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, where congestion is a real issue and drivers may let their concentration lapse. With so many people and vehicles jostling for space, especially during Ramadan, it’s no wonder accidents occur.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1.35 million people lose their lives in  traffic accidents globally every year. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29 years, while statistics for the Middle East and North Africa estimate that between 80-100 people die every day from the result of road crashes. These are alarming numbers, which is why it’s so important that more effort is put into protecting vulnerable road users, as well as into helping drivers navigate such trying road conditions.

Ford is doing just that. Many models in the Ford range come equipped with Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection (PCA), a technology that aims to reduce the severity of frontal collisions, and help the driver avoid them. Applicable for use across a range of speeds, PCA scans roads and pavements ahead for vehicles and people. When it detects a possible collision scenario, it sends a warning to the driver. If the driver does not react, it escalates its responses from pre-charging braking, to limited braking, to finally full auto braking. Drivers can easily intervene and override the system by using steering, braking or throttle inputs.

“Being caught unaware can lead to dire consequences, so having a system like our Pre-Collision Assist, designed specifically to warn you of a problem, perhaps even before you’re aware of it, is very important,” says Jamie Rae, marketing director, Ford Middle East. “It might make all the difference.”

Data has shown that simply slowing down a vehicle before impact is enough to drastically change the outcome of an accident. According to WHO, pedestrians have almost no chance of survival if struck by a car traveling at 80km/h, but if it slows down to 45km/h, the pedestrian’s chance increases to 50 per cent. This jumps to 90 per cent if collision occurs when the vehicle successfully decelerates to 30km/h.