Modern vehicle technology is helping reduce the risks associated with distracted driving and prevent serious accidents. If you’re in the market for a new ride, keep an eye out for these top safety features.
1. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
Cruise control is a great feature unless you get stuck behind someone who can’t seem to decide how fast they want to go. With ACC, sensors in the grille of the car detect when a vehicle in front of you slows down or accelerates and adjusts your speed to maintain a safe driving distance. This is great for rush-hour traffic and road work season when you’re likely to encounter slow or stop-and-go driving conditions.
2. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
If you’ve ever had to slam on the brakes when another car seems to come out of nowhere, you’ll appreciate AEB. This system sends an alert when you appear to be in danger of hitting something, and if your reaction time is too slow, the car will start braking on its own. Although it isn’t always right because it can’t use human judgement, AEB can reduce instances of rear-end collisions by as much as 50 percent.
3. Blind Spot Warning (BSW)
Checking your mirrors and looking over your shoulder prior to changing lanes doesn’t mean you’ll catch every potential danger. A BSW system detects cars zipping up next to you and flashes a light on your side mirror to warn you of their approach. If you try to change lanes when another vehicle is in your blind spot, the steering wheel will vibrate or an alarm will sound to get your attention.
4. Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
Using a camera and a sensor in the front of the car, an FCW system “keeps an eye” on the road along with you and activates an alert if you begin to approach the vehicle in front of you too quickly. Unlike AEB, this warning system doesn’t apply the brakes for you, so you still have to be paying enough attention to react in time to avoid a crash.
5. Head-Up Display (HUD)
HUD addresses the problem of distracted driving by projecting important information like speed, navigation instructions and audio settings onto the windshield at a point just below your line of sight. This allows you to see all the essentials without the need to take your eyes off the road and glance down at the dashboard.
6. Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
It’s easy to drift out of your lane on the highway if you’re preoccupied or the weather is windy. Sometimes all it takes is a sneeze! With LDW, you get an alert when your vehicle starts to stray over the white lines. The seat or steering wheel may buzz to attract your attention, or a chime may sound. Cars with lane-keeping assist (LKA) in addition to LDW steer you back into the lane or start to apply the brakes automatically.
7. Rear Camera
Rear-view or backup cameras are common features in many car models, and for good reason. Cranking around in the seat as you move in reverse isn’t the greatest way to see what’s behind you and might not be possible if you suffer from back or neck pain. Cameras give you up to a 180-degree view of the area behind the car to help prevent accidents when people, animals or other vehicles cross your path.
Driving a safer car gives you more peace of mind when you’re on the road, especially if kids and pets are frequent passengers. Invest in these high-tech features for your next vehicle to protect yourself and your family.
About the Author
Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to NutritionStudies.org, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the NutritionFacts.org 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks.You can find out more about Sam at GreenGutWellness.com.