Vehicle safety technology has become an ever-increasing focus of design in new cars. Auto manufacturers recognize people who are seeking new vehicles want the best car safety features available to keep themselves and their families safe. This push towards safety is aided by advances in technology and legislative requirements. Backup cameras in vehicles, for example, were once a luxury add-on, but are now legally required for vehicles manufactured after May 1, 2018.
As other car safety devices become more economical to produce, it is likely we will see many of these features added as standard equipment to new vehicles. The existing safety technologies continue to be refined and perfected to remove bugs and defects. Advanced technology in vehicles now allows your car to avoid collisions, promote safe driving and keep passengers safe - even if you cannot react in time. If you are shopping for a new car for your family, be sure to check out these car safety features available on many different cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Car Safety Features
Lane Departure Warning
Long road trips, early mornings and late nights can often lead motorists to drowsy driving and an increased chance of drifting into another lane. Lane departure warning systems (LDW) combat unintentional lane crossings by giving the driver a warning when he or she starts to go over the line. Lane departure warnings may include seat and steering wheel vibrations, audio alerts, a warning light or a combination of these signals. Lane departure warnings do not, however, take control of the vehicle. Instead these systems allow the driver to receive the warning and make the correction as needed.
Recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), lane departure warning technology uses cameras and sensors on the sides of the vehicle to gauge painted road lines and sense when you are about to leave your lane of the road. Once a lane departure is detected, the system sends you warnings so you may correct the change. Lane departure warning systems keep you and your family safe by avoiding potential collisions from unintentional lane crossings, especially sideswiping a vehicle in the adjoining lane. The system does not act when a driver uses the turn signal, adding an additional layer of preventative safety by increasing the proper use of turn signals.
Similar to lane departure warning, vehicles equipped with lane-keep assist help prevent the unintentional crossing of a vehicle into other lanes. Lane-keep assist adds to the safety features of lane departure warnings by automatically applying corrective accelerating, braking or steering to keep the car in its lane. The corrections can often be disengaged by the driver slightly turning the wheel.
Lane-keep assist is an emerging car safety feature and is consistently becoming more reliable. Current lane-keep assist systems can sometimes have issues detecting the edge of a lane on a road with leaves, dirt or faded lines. As the technology grows, you can expect the systems to respond more accurately to varying road conditions. Even with some limitations, lane-keep assist is still a great addition to car safety features when buying a vehicle, as it decreases your chances of crossing into a lane of oncoming traffic or drifting off the road.
Blind Spot Detection
Blind spot detection systems are monitoring systems on the sides of a vehicle designed to help drivers avoid collisions when changing lanes. The blind spot detection feature uses ultrasonic sensors or digital imaging technology on the sides of a car to sense when there is another vehicle in hard-to-see blind spots. As explained by CNET’s Road Show, blind spot monitoring devices display a warning light in the side mirror when an object is sensed in your car’s blind spot. Many systems will also activate an audio warning, such as a beep, if you turn on a blinker while the blind spot warning light is illuminated. Several blind spot detection systems incorporate a larger detection area. This allows the system to warn you not only when a vehicle is already in your blind spot, but also when a vehicle is quickly approaching.
Both the extended blind spot detection and the regular blind spot monitor help keep your family safe from collisions when changing lanes or passing vehicles. These systems also help to keep your eyes on the road when moving between lanes. A quick glance to your side mirror will alert you whether or not it is safe to move into the adjacent lane. An illuminated warning light tells you that it is not a good time to change lanes, while no warning light suggests a safe path. Even with this car safety device in place, it is recommended that drivers glance over their shoulders before changing lanes when there is no warning light. This helps you avoid any quick-moving vehicles that may enter the lane after you have checked your blind spot monitoring system.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Drivers with experience driving long stretches of highway know the frustration that comes from using cruise control and coming upon a vehicle that does not have cruise control engaged. Usually, the driver has to turn off his or her cruise control and actively monitor the vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance from the other car. Adaptive cruise control is a car safety feature that eliminates this issue by automatically adjusting your cruising speed to maintain space between your vehicle and the cars around you.
Adaptive cruise control, sometimes known as radar cruise control, uses radar sensors in the front of the car, usually in the grill, to monitor the speed of objects in front of the vehicle. As noted in this Digital Trends article, some systems use cameras or light sensors to achieve the same speed-monitoring results. The sensors in the car then relay speed and distance information to the car’s computer systems which are connected to the throttle. Basic automatic cruise control systems use information from the car in front of you to either accelerate or decelerate to maintain a safe distance. More advanced systems include braking features to stop your car, should the vehicle in front of you suddenly stop or incorporate lane-keep assist technology to keep you centered in your lane.
The addition of cruise control to vehicles increased safety and convenience. Adaptive cruise control gives cruise control the modern technology upgrade it needs to become even more useful than before. Using an adaptive cruise control system promotes safe driving by allowing you to focus your attention on driving and not maintaining a single speed. Instead of constantly adjusting your cruise control speed to meet vehicles around you, your car handles these adjustments and you can remain focused on other aspects of driving such as moving over for vehicles stopped on the shoulder.
In an AutoTrader article, adaptive cruise control is also praised as a system that alerts you when a lane change may be needed. Your vehicle, equipped with adaptive cruise control, approaches a slow-moving vehicle ahead and reduces your speed. The deceleration alerts you to the slower car and gives you a chance to choose to stay in your lane or move lanes and pass the vehicle in front of you. If it’s safe to pass, you can move to the other lane and your car will automatically speed up to resume your desired cruising speed.
New Car Safety Features at the San Diego International Auto Show
The best way to keep you and your family safe on the road is to remain alert, focused and avoid distracted driving. Car safety features like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning systems assist you, should you lose focus due to fatigue or other factors. Check out these car safety features in person at the San Diego International Auto Show, December 27-30, 2018. The show features numerous auto manufacturers with over 100 cars to test drive so you can see safety technologies in action. The Auto Show, sponsored by Wawanesa Insurance, also features a kids’ scavenger hunt, food trucks and an exotic car gallery.