Which New Car Safety Features Are the Most Helpful?

Every year, automakers take bold steps forward into the future, designing and unveiling new vehicles that are both stylish and efficient. Today’s new cars are, of course, more modern and capable than ever, and they’re also safer than the vehicles of the past.

It’s thanks to innovative technology that new cars are achieving incredible new safety accomplishments. From crash avoidance to hands-off lane keep assist, today’s newest models are capable of keeping you safe in any situation. But, with so many changes and so many different options, choosing which safety features are best can be difficult. If you’re shopping for a new car, here’s which safety features are the best to have.

Forward Collision Warning

One of the most exciting safety features of today’s new cars, forward collision warning systems are able to determine the likeliness of a collision and prevent one from occurring. If you’re driving and there’s a stopped or slowing vehicle ahead of you – and you aren’t slowing down at all – the forward collision warning system will alert you that you’re about to crash. Depending on the automaker and the car model, some forward collision warning systems will even apply the brakes for you to slow your car down before impact.

Forward collision warning is highly recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for new car shoppers. Available from automakers including Chevrolet, Mazda, and Infiniti, this safety feature is especially helpful at preventing distracted driving accidents. If you’d like an extra set of eyes on the road, this is a feature you need.

Lane Departure Warning

Lane departure warnings are becoming increasingly common in new vehicles of all makes and models. This easy warning system lets drivers know when they’ve started to drift out of their lane. Your car keeps an eye on the lane lines, road indicators, and other visual signals to ensure you’re on the right path. Should you wander into another lane or start to veer off path, you’ll either hear a loud beep, feel a vibration in the steering wheel or seat, or send a visual alert on your dashboard.

Many automakers are pairing lane departure warning with lane keep assist, which takes safety one step farther. In addition to alerting you that you’re drifting dangerously out of your lane, the car will steer you back into your lane if you don’t take action yourself. Both the NHTSA and experts at Edmunds recommend lane departure warning features, believing lane departure warning to be more solidly developed right now than lane keep assist.

Automatic Emergency Braking

If you’re distracted and don’t realize you’re about to have an accident, or you don’t react quickly enough when danger is approaching, automatic emergency braking is a hugely helpful feature. Any time your car sense a collision about to occur, it applies the brakes and slows or stops your vehicle immediately. Although it’s only a few years old, automatic emergency braking is one of the auto industry’s most helpful safety features – and experts love it so much that it’s about to become permanent.

The NHTSA recently announced that automatic emergency braking will become a standard feature on all cars and trucks by 2022, meaning all cars bought after 2022 will include it. This feature has been found to be so effective at preventing or minimizing accidents that the U.S. government considers it critical for drivers to have. Though it may cost you a little more until 2022, it’s well worth the price.

Backup Camera

Backup cameras, also known as rear traffic alerts or rear cross path detection by some auto companies, have become an incredibly common safety feature over the past decade. Subtle and hidden near a car’s back license plate, these rear-view cameras are designed to help drivers see what’s behind them while driving in reverse. Most backup cameras automatically turn on when the car is in reverse.

Surprisingly, backup cameras aren’t a standard feature just yet – but automakers want them to become one. USA Today highly recommends them, but does warn that drivers shouldn’t expect a rear camera to catch absolutely everything. Some cameras only sound an alarm when there’s movement behind the car, while others can catch stationary objects and people.

Blind Spot Monitoring

Like other modern safety features on this list, blind spot monitoring alerts drivers to problems on the road. However, blind spot monitoring is increasingly popular with drivers. Edmunds found that 73 percent of cars from the 2017 model year were bought with blind spot monitoring systems. Easy to use and helpful for drivers who struggle to see different blind spots while on the road, this feature activates a warning beep whenever there’s another vehicle in your blind spot.

There’s just one drawback to blind spot monitoring: drivers can turn this feature off whenever they’d like. So, as helpful as it can be by preventing you from hitting someone in your blind spots, it only works when it’s turned on. Make sure you keep this feature on if you’d like to truly protect yourself from surprise collisions.

No matter your driving record or your vehicle’s shape and size, each one of these safety features offers a new way to increase your chance of driving without an accident. These technological add-ons are helping reduce the number of collisions on roads everywhere, and they can give you greater comfort every time you drive. Make the most of your new car’s safety by adding these recommended and helpful features.

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