New safety features to look for when buying a new vehicle
April 8, 2019. New cars come equipped with features that were unheard of even a few years ago. Car safety is so much more than airbags and ABS brakes now, so look for these features when shopping for a new car. Make sure you learn how to use them effectively, so you can stay safe on the road. These systems range from passive audible or visual alerts to fully autonomous accident mitigation control and use a range of sensors and cameras on your vehicle to detect potentially dangerous situations.
Rear-view cameras show the driver a 180-degree view of the area behind the car and are helpful for reversing and making sure children and animals are not accidentally hit. Newer systems combine multiple camera angles to give you a top-down display of your vehicle.
Adaptive cruise control
Adaptive cruise control uses sensors and radar to maintain a consistent following distance. If the vehicle gets too close to the car in front of it, the brakes will be applied, if it gets too far behind the car will accelerate. It is useful for highway driving or heavy congestion.
Stability control helps prevent accidents by compensating for driver error in over-acceleration, understeer, oversteer or speed wobble situations.
Blind spot detection
Blind spot detection shines a light on the door mirrors or makes a sound when a vehicle or object approaches your blind spot. Electronic detection devices near the rear view mirrors or rear bumper either send out electromagnetic waves (usually radar) or analyze images taken with a digital camera to alert you of potential danger.
Forward collision warning
Forward collision warning systems will alert the driver in the case of an imminent forward collision through a visual, audible, or tactile signal. These systems use cameras, radar, or lasers to detect vehicles in front of you and are usually paired with adaptive cruise control.
Automatic emergency braking
AEB senses potential collisions and brakes are activated automatically to prevent them. Rear end collisions are reduced by 50% in cars with AEB.
Lane departure warning
Lane departure warning makes a sound when you are leaving your lane. Lane keep uses the white lines on the highway to steer the car back into its lane if it starts to drift.
Some nice-to-have features include:
Rear cross-traffic warning
Your car will notify you if something that could be moving into rear camera range. This is useful when backing out of a parking spot where your visibility is limited.
Rear automatic emergency braking
Rear AEB prevents the vehicle from backing into something by applying the brakes.
Lane centering assist adjusts your steering to keep the car centered in the lane.
New technology that is just entering the marketplace:
Facial recognition is just starting to come on the market. Software monitors the driver’s alertness and focus and warns you when your attention starts to drift.
Safety exit assist
Safety exit assist will stop the back doors from opening when other vehicles or bicycles approach the rear of the vehicle.
Several car manufacturers have begun implementing fully autonomous driving systems. These allow the driver to relinquish control of the vehicle to the computer. These systems are new, and while extensively tested, still require a human driver to retake control of the vehicle if needed.
No matter how many safety features your car has, it is important to practice common sense and good driving habits instead of relying only on your car’s technology to keep you safe.