Safety features you should know about when buying a car
Article by Isabella Aldridge | Sept. 6th 2017
Of course the purpose of any vehicle is to travel from one point to another, safely and in a comfortable manner. For this reason, and the fact that beauty is often common, most manufacturers maintain their focus on safety when it comes to new features. From emergency braking systems, voice recognition, and cameras to assist with parking; there have been many incredible features introduced to the car market in recent years and almost every one of these is centered on making the vehicle more comfortable and safe in general.
Why do car makers focus on safety so much?
- It should go without saying that safety and practicality is more important than looking good, and while this is often overlooked in other industries, namely fashion, the consequences are too serious to discount in the automotive industry.
- For this reason, manufacturers make it their aim to use the safety aspects of a car to their advantage and promote these as the unique selling points of a vehicle which can help it stand out from competitors in the market.
- However, there have been so many safety features created in recent years that many new buyers are completely unaware that they exist. After all, the safety features which could only be found in advanced vehicles in the past are now considered standard in pretty every new vehicle being brought to the market today.
Maybe you are unsure of these features? Here are some of the most notable safety features to keep an eye out for when buyer a new car:
Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning
Incredibly, we have already entered an era with semi-automatic driving systems which use sensors and cameras to manoeuvre a vehicle safely. Monitoring speed, distance and the movement of other vehicles, these are incredibly advanced systems but at the same time, we remain a long way off having a fully automatic system which can be trusted more than human capabilities. Lane keep assist systems do need to be managed and monitored closely as they are used but the concept of this useful technology is to assist the driver over long distances and help them to remain aware of the road conditions, other vehicles etc.
While fully self-driving vehicles are still years away, we can already enjoy the benefits of this emerging technology today. Semi-autonomous driving systems use sophisticated sensors to detect traffic lanes and vehicle surroundings. These sensors enable the vehicle to control speed, distance between vehicles and steer within a lane. Some vehicles now offer the ability to change lanes automatically as well. These systems are not designed to completely take over control of the vehicle, and require consistent monitoring from the driver (or the system will shut off). While the systems don’t allow for drivers to be inattentive, they help reduce driver fatigue over long hauls and assist the driver in maintaining awareness of driving conditions.
Similar to lane keep assist this technology was designed to assist the driver by detecting nearby vehicles which may be unexpectedly leaving their chosen lane. Lane departure warnings can be through voice, warning lights or even a slight movement in the actual steering wheel.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
This is a highly regarded technology which greatly reduces the risk of collision with another vehicle. Regardless of which direction the vehicle is travelling, forward or backward, automatic emergency braking is triggered by sensors which can estimate the amount of time needed to brake safely without hitting another car or object. In the case of this sensor detecting any risk, it automatically readies the brakes and if needed, it will also apply the brakes to avoid any such collision.
Interestingly, many experts have commended the auto industry for producing what they believe to be the most impressive and useful safety technology to be introduced to the car. Modern day AEB systems are also connected to the seatbelts of a car which allows them to maintain tension in the seatbelt during any circumstances as described above.
Blind spot monitor
Most beginners would have given anything for this simple technology which alarms anytime another vehicle is travelling a little too close to their vehicle. Consisting of a minor light, this alarm is slight yet significant and signal to the driver that now is not a good time to manoeuvre. While they are often located on the wing mirrors of a car, they are sometimes found inside the vehicle and this is important when rain or dirt is obstructing the drivers view through the window.
Rear, front and surround view cameras
Some countries around the world are introducing regulations to make surround view cameras mandatory on all vehicles. It is easy to understand why, especially when it comes to the rear view camera which obviously gives driver an unobstructed view of behind the vehicle. While the presence of a camera greatly reduces the risk of damaging your car, there is a very obvious matter which is far more important. When we consider how most pedestrian related accidents are as a result of driver error, it also makes sense that drivers should have a clear view in every direction and the new 360 degree cameras provide this facility with ease.
In recent years, a large concern has been placed on the act of leaving children unattended in a vehicle. In fact, some car manufacturers have even introduced a safety feature which sounds a very loud alarm anytime something (or someone) has been left in the rear of the vehicle
Cross Traffic Alert and SOS Services
In the past, it was absolutely inevitable that at some point, another driver would take you by surprise. Although Cross Traffic Alert is designed to stop this from happening and alerts the unaware driver when another vehicle is approaching. These warning signals are the same as above and are detected automatically using the cameras on the vehicle.
Another useful safety feature in some vehicles is SOS which offers immediate communication with emergency services following an accident. In most cases, this feature requires connection to a nearby cell phone.
Voice recognition and focusing on the road
While many new vehicles have a Heads Up display which subtly outlines vital data on the windscreen for drivers, voice recognition is arguably the future. Less distracting due to the non-visual nature of this information, voice recognition is a convenient and very safe way to communicate necessary data with the driver. While voice recognition in a car mainly focuses on matters such temperature control or audio, this an equally important safety feature which removes any need for the driver to take their eyes from the road.
Many more safety features are sure to hit the market in the coming years but for now, these is the most common technology currently available which should be considered when buying a new car. You may not be able to afford all of them, but you can certainly contact your dealership to check which ones are possible.
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