7 min read

Top 5 New Safety Features in Cars you Might Not Have Heard of

As cars get faster and the technologies within become more advanced, so do the safety features protecting us. We broke down how the top 5 most popular safety features work in new cars today.

Emily MacKinnon

Executive Assistant

There are many great new safety features in the automotive market that you might not be aware of. From adding cameras watching your surroundings at all times to helping your reaction time on the brakes, auto manufacturers continue to make strides in keeping drivers safe on the road. Over 1.3 million people are injured worldwide every year from car accidents, making it one of our nation's biggest health concerns. Many of these accidents could have been avoided if the driver had been more aware of their surroundings.

Forward Collision Warning with Brake Support

Ford has introduced this new feature that puts extra sensors on the front of your vehicle that scans vehicles travelling ahead of you in the same direction. If determined the vehicle ahead is travelling at a slower speed than you are rapidly approaching it will flash red dotted lights onto the windshield. If the driver ignores these warnings the brakes will start to pre-charge (they will not break for you) for when you do apply your brakes, even lightly, they will apply almost a full stop to avoid rear-ending the vehicle in front of you. Toyota and Chevrolet have taken it a step further by adding an automatic braking feature to help avoid collisions, the brakes will only override if the vehicle detects an immediate impact. This feature is designed to eliminate tailgating and rear endings that could have been avoided. If you plan on attaching a front bully bar or snowplow you will need to turn this sensor off.

Lane Departure Warning

Not to be confused with blind-spot detection, this feature alerts drivers if they are drifting into a lane or taking a turn without using their turn signal. The lane departure warning technology is utilizing sensors that are reading the painted road lines on the road, so unfortunately if you are on an unmarked or snow-covered road this feature will not work. The driver can determine how they would like to receive the warning, they can choose between a visual on the dashboard, an audible sound through the speakers, or a vibration through the steering wheel or seat. While you might not think this feature is unnecessary, it could help you avoid falling asleep while driving and causing an accident and encourages drivers to utilize their turn signal.

Emergency Braking Assist

If you're accelerating on the highway and suddenly there's a car stopped in front of you, do you hit the brakes hard enough to prevent impact? It takes a split second for your brain to process this information while going 100 kilometres an hour and it was found that even in immediate emergencies people don’t press the brakes hard enough to hit the floor. This is where emergency braking assist comes to the rescue. If the vehicle detects your attempt to come to a rapid stop the emergency brake assist will click in and push the brake to the floor, aiding in your attempt to come to a complete stop. This could be very beneficial on our slick winter roads. However, after the emergency brake assist does actuate you will need to reset your brakes by turning turn over the engine again and feathering the brakes to redistribute the brake fluid before continuing your drive. Honda specifically calls this feature the Collison Mitigation Braking system to sound more sophisticated.

Improved Blind Spot Monitoring

Blind-spot monitoring is a feature that's been available for many years. There was even a time when this system would beep to warn the driver if there was another car in the blind spot, but that can get old quickly and almost seem like it's nagging you, especially in congested traffic. Newer vehicles include a more sophisticated version of this older technology by using cameras and heads-up displays to show you exactly where another vehicle is sitting in your blind spot when you turn on your turning indicator. Gone are the days of just a small light turning on, in your mirror. This feature is great for making sure you don't hit another vehicle when trying to switch lanes or make a turn.

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

Kia has taken blind-spot monitoring to the next stage with the rear cross-traffic alert by taking a couple of these safety features and combining them to ensure you are safe while backing up without needing a backup camera. Utilizing radar and ultrasonic waves the sensors located on the back left and right of the vehicle will alert the driver when reversing at slow speeds that a vehicle in your blind spot is approaching giving you ample time to stop, preventing a collision. The warnings go up in severity the closer a vehicle gets, they begin as an indicator light on the side mirror, then progress to the dashboard display and finally an audible warning with vibration in the steering wheel as a final collision warning.

While these are some great safety features to be aware of, there's more to be done with car safety than just warning drivers of potential hazards around them. With advancements in autonomous driving who knows what the future of driving safety will look like. But we can rest easy knowing companies like FordKiaHonda and many others have our safety in mind when designing their latest and greatest vehicles!

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