Safety Features of New Cars Explained
It’s a fact that technology is making cars extremely safe these days. A long time ago, buyers only had two options when it came to safety options: a good bumper and a reliable brake. But that was a long time ago. Modern vehicles now boast of advanced safety features that make cars safer on the road. Gone are those passive controls that wait on you hand and foot; now, these precursors to the autonomous vehicle will think for you, instead. Check out the best safety features of new cars below:
Blind-spot monitors use sensors to help detect passing cars that are in your blind spot. These are often mounted to the door mirrors, and most come with a warning light that alerts you when a car is in your blind spot or there's a danger of lateral collision ahead.
There are two types of blind spot monitors. The passive ones typically give off orange warning lights on the side mirrors. They also beep when they sense that it’s not safe for you to change lanes. The active version takes it a step further by automatically steering or braking your car as soon as it detects that another vehicle is in your blind spot. That way, it prevents you from changing lanes.
Adaptive Cruise Control / Collision Mitigation
Adaptive Cruise Control also uses the same technology that Blind spot monitors use. However, in this case, it detects cars that are in the same lane with you. What it does is control your vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe space for you and the other vehicle in front of you.
This feature also brakes hard and tightens your seatbelt as soon as its radar senses a potential collision ahead. It also detects when the lane is safe again, and automatically reverts back to its original cruising speed. You can override this system by pressing lightly on the brakes.
Adaptive Cruise Control goes by other names, such as Collision Mitigation or Distronic Plus (for Mercedes Benz). Whatever the case, it's a great one to have in your car.
Autonomous Emergency Braking / Automated Braking Systems
One of the best, if not ambitious safety features in recent times, the Automated Braking System detects possible road obstacles and applies the brakes before you even have a chance to respond.
Basically, its software gathers data using one or more ways: lidar sensors, radar, and stereo cameras. What it checks are the speed and path of incoming objects on all sides of the vehicle. First, it gives off a warning signal if its calculations show a most-likely collision. If you don't react, then the brakes automatically slow or halt to a stop.
Those with more advanced Automatic Braking System can even detect large animals and humans (like cyclists and unruly pedestrians).
A recent world study indicated that the Automated Brake System lessens rear-end crashes up to 38 percent.
Electronic Stability Control / Active Stability Control
It comes in many names, but it does the same function: control the brake pressure on each wheel.
Imagine you’re driving on the freeway. Suddenly, a man appears on the road. Your natural reaction would be to steer away so you don’t hit him head-on. However, this sudden, jerky movement, can also lead you to swerve sharply and increase your chances of sliding, skidding, or rolling uncontrollably. Once this happens, then your chances of getting seriously injured are extremely high.
The Electronic Stability Program works by constantly monitoring your car’s position and direction with the direction of your steering. Once it senses that your car isn't going to the direction you’re steering to, then it intervenes by controlling the brake pressure (via the Automated Braking System) and manipulating engine power.
It also detects which wheel gives a lesser grip, and automatically applies the brakes to keep it down. Some with more advanced features even cut off your steering wheel's power to prevent your vehicle from skidding.
This feature has different names, depending on the car manufacturer:
- Active Stability Control (Mitsubishi)
- Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (Volvo)
- Dynamic Stability Control (Ford, Mazda, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover)
- Electronic Stability Program (Mercedes Benz, Kia, Hyundai, Chrysler)
- Electronic Stabilization Program (Volkswagen, Audi)
- Stability and Traction Control (Fiat)
- Swerve Control (Lexus)
- Vehicle Dynamic Control (Nissan, Subaru)
- Vehicle Stability Assist (Honda)
- Vehicle Stability Control (Suzuki, Toyota)
Whatever the case, Electronic Stability Control has the most potential when it comes to preventing single car crashes on the road. In fact, if you're going to pick one, we suggest you choose this, first. Studies show that it reduces the risk of single crashes by 25 percent, single 4WD crashes by 51 percent, single car crashes with an injured driver by 28 percent, and single 4WD crashes with an injured driver by 66 percent.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Not a lot of cars have this, but if you find one, then hang on to it tightly. Rear Cross Traffic Alert helps avoid possible collisions when you are backing out of a parking spot or driveway. Left and right sensors detect approaching vehicles and give off a warning beep and/or a LED icon flash in the side mirror. Those with advanced systems will automatically brake the car or even warn when there’s a toddler on the driveway.
Seatbelt Reminders and Seatbelt Interlock Sensors
They’re really quite simple in concept, but they’re extremely valuable for everyone. Seatbelt reminders alert you and your passengers when you’re not wearing your seatbelt, while the interlocks will require you to first put yours on before you can drive your car.
They work by flashing a light on the dashboard and chiming a warning tone until you fasten your seatbelt. There are some people who find this inconvenient and annoying from time to time, but we think it's better to be safe than sorry in the end.
You're lucky to be living at a time where technology can offer better safety options than ever before. Be smart, and take advantage of the numerous features that are available to you at the moment. As smart cars continuously evolve, we hope to see better and more useful features that will keep everyone safer and more secure on the road.