Advances in Car Safety Technology
Although new car dealers are known for sometimes trying to sell unnecessary options and features, there are many new safety features that are worth considering. Car safety technology has been advancing rapidly. These added safety features can save lives as well as lowering your insurance payments. Here are our choices for the best new safety technologies:
Rearview cameras not only protect your car, but also protect children and pets from accidental back-overs. Backing up your car has graduated from side mirrors tilting down or causing chirps and beeps to real-time viewing. The new technology involves a camera that works with the navigation system to provide a wide-open shot of what’s happening behind you to help with parking or hooking up a trailer.
Adaptive cruise control
Cruise control can now go beyond just maintaining a constant speed. With the use of sensors and radar, cruise control can now adjust the throttle and brakes to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you if there are changes in traffic speed or if another vehicle cuts in. If the system senses a potential collision, it will brake hard and tighten the seatbelts. Once it knows the lane is clear or traffic has sped up, it will return your car to its original cruising speed. You can still override the system by touching the brakes.
Blind spot detection
Blind spot detection technology is designed to alert you to cars or objects in your blind spot during driving or parking. Usually it will respond when you put on your turn signal. If it detects something in the way, it may flash a light in your mirror, cause the seat or steering wheel to vibrate or sound an alarm.
Lane departure warning
This warning system judges an approaching vehicle’s speed and distance to warn you of potential danger if you change lanes. It can also warn if it determines your car is wandering out of the lane, which could be useful if you become distracted. This could come in the form of a vibration through the seat or steering wheel or an alarm. The number of vehicles offering this technology is rapidly increasing, illustrating its value and usefulness in keeping the drowsy driver awake, alert and above all, safe.
Occupant sensitive airbags
Airbags now have the technology to sense the different sizes and weights of occupants as well as seatbelt usage, abnormal seating positions, rear-facing child seats and even vehicle speed. While driver, passenger and side curtain airbags are nothing new, sensing airbags are becoming increasingly popular.
Emergency brake assist
This brake technology is different from an antilock braking system. It recognizes when the driver makes a panic stop and will apply additional brake pressure to help shorten the stopping distance. It may also work in conjunction with the smart cruise control or stability control system in some vehicles if it senses a potential collision.
Night vision can be executed in different forms, such as infrared headlamps or thermal-imaging cameras. An image is generated through a cockpit display, brightening the objects that are hard to see with the naked eye. Adaptive headlights follow the direction of the vehicle. They may also be speed-sensitive, or compensate for ambient light. This system uses advanced technology to help the driver distinguish between people and animals. Currently this is an option on select premium models.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has required that all U.S. passenger vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less be equipped with a tire-pressure monitoring system. It’s already a safety feature in most new cars. Sensors at the wheels are able to alert you if the air pressure is too low by an audible warning, a light on the instrument panel, or both.