New advanced headlight technology, developed by car manufacturer Ford, could help drivers spot potential hazards at night by drawing drivers’ attention to pedestrians, cyclists and animals which are on, or just off, the road.

The system uses an infra-red camera to locate and track up to eight people and large animals at a range of up to 120 metres. The objects are then displayed on a screen inside the car marked in a yellow or red frame to help drivers identify and react quickly to potential hazards.

Ford is also developing an Advanced Front Lighting System which uses GPS signals to identify potential hazards and then illuminates bends and dips on the route. When GPS is not available the system uses video technology to detect the road's curvature.

According to road safety group Think!, 60% of all road fatalities occur on country roads. Latest figures from the group show 1,070 people were killed on country roads in 2013, and 9,104 were seriously injured.

Helen Williams, a senior road accident solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Bristol office said: “Thousands of serious injuries and deaths occur on rural roads every year, and this latest technology from Ford could help tackle the hazards and dangers drivers face on these types of roads.

“Pedestrians and cyclists can be particularly vulnerable on rural roads, especially at night and helping drivers to identify hazards at an earlier stage could significantly reduce the chances of a collision, injury or road death.

“While advanced car technology continues to support improved road safety, it is ultimately the responsibility of those behind the wheel to drive cautiously and safely at all times, while pedestrians and cyclists must make every effort to ensure they are visible to drivers on the road.”