Vehicle safety features are something I take very seriously when selecting my new car. Recently, there have been a variety of new features that have come on the market that have made my drive much safer that I would love to share with you.
A few of these include:
1. Side View Assist. (my personal favorite)
When a car is in your blind spot, sensors on the rear bumper can alert you with a light in your side mirror. Some systems warn you with a beep if you engage your turn signal while there is a vehicle in the lane you are trying to merge into. (This can greatly reduce collisions related to improper lane change).
2. Rearview Camera. (another favorite of mine)
A tiny camera mounted on the back of the vehicle transmits an image to your dashboard or rearview mirror, making it easier to see people or objects behind you. There is also a line that shows how much further you can back up without hitting into anything. Once limited to luxury models, it's becoming a popular option on mid-range cars. Reverse Backup Sensors are also great. (Rearview cameras are highly recommended for parents with children, who could walk behind the car unexpectedly).
3. Automatic Braking.
This system actually brakes the car to prevent a collision or lessen the impact from whatever is in front of you. Expert predicts the system will be a standard safety feature in five to 10 years.
4. Forward Collision Avoidance System.
Also called a pre-crash warning system, it's often combined with automatic braking. The system warns drivers, with visual or auditory clues, if they're about to run into something. Expert says that various systems can pre-charge brakes, move the passenger seat back, position headrests to help you avoid whiplash, and apply partial or full brakes. (The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that as many as 1.2 million crashes could be stopped or mitigated each year if all vehicles had this feature).
5. Parking Assist.
If you hate parallel parking, this one's for you. An increasing number of models offer a feature that detects the size of the parking space, guides you into the starting position, and then allows you to completely take your hands off the wheel while the computer backs the vehicle into place. (As the technology becomes more widespread, it could help eliminate a lot of fender benders).
6. Air Bag Systems.
You might think they're old news, but air bag systems actually get more high-tech every year. Since late 2006, all passenger vehicles have been made with Advanced Frontal Airbag systems, which can automatically detect the size and position of the passenger and the severity of the crash and can use that information to vary the force with which the air bags inflate. Most new cars also come with side-impact air bags (around the doors and windows), though only some cars offer them in the rear seats. Increasingly, automakers are offering innovative air bag technologies in different areas of the vehicle, such as Ford's inflatable seatbelts, and Scion's rear-window air bag.
7. Lane Departure Warning Systems.
These systems are designed to help prevent head-on collisions and other catastrophes. Cameras or other sensors, such as radar or infrared, are placed around the vehicle to determine its relative position in the lane. If you leave your lane, a light flashes and a high-pitched beep sounds. Some models have a vibrating steering wheel to alert you.
8. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
One of the most underrated aspect of vehicle safety is tire pressure. Optimum tyre pressure provides the best traction or grip on the road. This also provides better steering control over the vehicle and not to forget, improves mileage. TPMS employs a pressure sensor inside the tyre that sends a radio signal to the on-board computer alerting the driver about low tyre pressure.