Quick Guide to Safety Features
22 September 2020
Vehicle safety features have advanced so much these days that we wonder when cars will start driving themselves. Until then, it’s important we understand how the systems work.
Many features, like airbags and seatbelts, are a given. These specs are standard on modern vehicles (thank goodness!), but new features are emerging to keep you safe on the road. Some are integrated into standard design for modern models, so we can only hope that these advances will continue.
Names and full functionality vary depending on the vehicle, but we can start deciphering with this handy guide, below.
Active Park Assist – Never worry about parallel parking again! Vehicles with this feature use sonar and radar to measure empty parking spaces. The vehicle then steers itself into the space, while the driver operates the accelerator and brakes. The system isn’t perfect, but it offers a helping hand for tricky places!
Automated Emergency Braking – Forward-facing cameras and radars detect imminent collisions and warn the driver through audio and visual warnings. The vehicle will then brake on behalf of the driver if no action is taken. This impressive feature can help avoid fatal accidents, but systems vary in their efficiency and should not be relied upon.
Blind Spot Monitor – Using sonar sensors or cameras to monitor common blind spots of a vehicle, this feature alerts the driver through steering wheel vibrations, noises, or via a light on the wing mirror when another vehicle is in their blind spot.
Daytime Running Lights – Aesthetically pleasing, these also provide a safety element. Dedicated lights illuminate automatically during the day, improving your vehicle’s visibility on the road.
Driver Attention Monitor – Some vehicles can detect a driver’s fatigue and attention levels by monitoring their movements. If the vehicle detects too many steering corrections, the driver will be alerted through a visual or audio reminder to take a break.
Lane Departure Warning – Activated through camera-based monitoring, this system identifies lane markings and alerts the driver if the vehicle is at risk of departing the lane without the turn signal on.
Lane-Keeping Assist – A step up from the lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist makes small corrections to the steering to keep your vehicle in the correct lane. Some systems warn drivers using audio, visual, or steering wheel vibrations.
Parking Sensors – Mainstream on most new vehicles, parking sensors use ultrasonic transducers to locate potential hazards in the way of a vehicle’s path and alerts the driver through a series of beeps if the vehicle nears the object.
Pedestrian Detection – This feature uses cameras to watch for pedestrians and bikers on the road. Some systems will automatically brake if a collision is imminent, while others provide warnings.
Radar Cruise Control – Using the vehicle’s radar and camera, the driver can set the cruise control speed to safely trail the vehicle ahead. Some systems can also stop when the vehicle ahead stops! This feature reduces driver fatigue and allows for the use of cruise control in high-traffic areas.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert – Handy for backing out of busy spaces, this feature detects rear crossing traffic that may interfere with a vehicle’s reversal. Depending on the model, the vehicle may apply the brakes or alert the driver with a series of sensors.
Traffic-Sign Recognition – The traffic-sign recognition seeks out road signs and displays necessary alerts to the driver. Some can also recognise restriction signs and various other warnings. Most vehicles will display the speed limit as a visual display on the info-display or via a red line on the speedometer.
Although these safety systems are clever, it’s important to remember they don’t replace attentive driving. Make driving your number one priority, always.
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