Car shopping is fun and exciting, but it can also be intimidating and nerve-wracking, especially if you’re new to the process. Today’s automobile market is filled with brands from all over the world that make cars, trucks, SUVs, minivans and other types of vehicles of all shapes, sizes, and colors. These include a variety of amenities and of course, safety features. Whether you’re on the lookout for a vehicle that you’ll drive by yourself or one you’ll use to transport family and/or other passengers, overall safety is likely high on your priority list. Thankfully, most modern cars have built-in safety features and technologies – in addition to the standard seatbelts and airbags – that allow drivers to travel with ease. And while many roadway accidents are just that, accidents, simply knowing that you’re operating a safe car provides extra peace of mind.
According to Consumer Reports, there are several qualities to keep in mind while looking for the right vehicle. Whether you’re buying new or used, the following list of important safety features may come in handy during your car search and can be used as an evaluation checklist when car shopping.
Antilock brake systems (ABS)
Antilock brake systems were designed to prevent front tires from slipping and sliding when a driver needs to brake suddenly. This is made possible via sensors at each wheel that maximize braking and prevent lockup. This feature allows the driver to stay in control of their steering while braking.
Automatic emergency braking / Forward collision warning
Cars with automatic emergency braking or forward collision warning alert the driver of a forthcoming collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, or object and brake on behalf of the driver. However, while these braking systems work as intended for the most part, drivers should not fully rely on this type of feature.
Adaptive headlights are designed to make night driving, driving in extreme weather conditions or dimly lit areas safer by increasing the driver’s visibility. The beams of adaptive headlights rotate sideways or upward and downward to light up the actual path of where you’re driving, whether around a curve or up a hill. In addition, since the beams of adaptive headlights remain on the road itself (i.e., they don’t directly point at oncoming traffic), this drastically decreases the risk of ultra-bright glares in fellow motorists’ eyes.
Driver attention monitor
Driver attention monitor systems use intelligent driver-facing cameras to keep a close eye on the driver to make sure they aren’t distracted or drowsy. Many of these systems come with sensors that track the car’s movement to determine the attentiveness of the driver. These systems typically provide an alert to encourage the driver to take a break from driving or to stop texting – an extremely dangerous and risky habit!
Lane departure warning
Lane departure warning is a feature that involves a camera that detects lane markings and alerts the driver if their car is about to veer out of its proper lane without activating the turn signal. This feature helps prevent accidentally cutting off another driver, which can cause an accident.
This rear-view camera-based assistance system, which officially became standard in vehicles in 2018, is activated when the driver puts their car in reverse mode. As the driver is backing up, they can see what’s behind them through a screen on the center console. This is commonly used as a parking aid and can also spot people and objects in the blind zone behind the vehicle. Some more advanced camera systems even provide a 360–degree view of the car’s surroundings.
Parking assist sensors
Cars with parking assist sensors have the unique ability to find and measure available street parking spaces and steer into them as the driver simultaneously operates both the accelerator and brake. If you’re not a confident parallel parker or want the parking process to take a few seconds rather than several minutes, this feature can be a valuable timesaver.
Rural Mutual auto insurance provides coverage for cars, motorcycles and other eligible vehicles. We offer several discounts that reward safe drivers and qualified community members. If you’d like to learn more about car safety or securing insurance that best fits your personal needs, contact your Rural Mutual agent to determine the best auto insurance options available.
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