How Your Car's Safety Systems Work

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Now and again, your parents might remind you that driving isn’t what it used to be. A generation ago, seat belts were one of the only safety features protecting drivers and passengers from incurring injuries in accidents. New cars contain safety technology that the drivers of past generations couldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams. Now a driver benefits from active safety features like blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive headlights (to name a few).
These advanced safety features help curb human error and create a safer driving experience. But how do they work? Here’s what you need to know about some of the most common safety features.

Cruise Control

This feature allows drivers to maintain their speed without having to keep their foot on the pedal. The cruise control button is usually on or near the steering wheel. It is deactivated by touching the brakes or pressing the cruise control button.
This feature is optimal for highway-driving or roads where there’s enough distance between cars that the driver isn’t frequently braking. It also helps fight fatigue because it prevents the driver from having to apply continuous pressure to the pedal.
Some new vehicles also have adaptive cruise control, which not only maintains a set speed, but will also engage the brakes if it senses you are getting too close to another vehicle.

Emergency Braking

If your car has adaptive cruise control, it also likely has emergency braking. A car with emergency braking has sensors that detect if you’re quickly approaching a car or a stationary object. If the car’s sensor detects there is an imminent threat of a crash occurring, it will engage the brakes.

Blind-Spot Monitor

Thanks to advanced safety systems, blind spots are no longer blind! Blind-spot monitors alert you if a car is in your blind spot. This feature is great for helping drivers switch lanes with confidence. However, it is always a good idea to physically check your blind spots before changing lanes.
Although system failure is unlikely, you want to maintain the habit of checking your blind spots. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a situation where you’re driving a car without a blind spot sensor feature and forget to check your blind spots because you’ve gotten out of the habit.

Lane-Keeping Assist

Many accidents are caused annually by drivers drifting out of their lanes. This can happen because the driver isn’t focusing on the road. Lane-keeping assist senses when you’re drifting out of your lane and gently steers your car back into the center of the lane.

Parking Cameras and Sensors

If you have parking anxiety, you’re not the only one. In fact, parking cameras and sensors have become some of the most popular advanced safety systems for just that reason.
Parking cameras allow you to see what is directly behind your bumper when you’re in reverse and the sensors beep when you are getting too close to something behind your vehicle. Both of these features give you the confidence you need to make it into that tiny spot!

Active Park Assist

Some vehicles take parking assistance a step further by literally doing the parking for you. A system of sensors takes the guesswork and anxiety out of parking. The vehicle guides you into the spot. The best part? There are no witnesses of you scrambling to parallel park!
Remember, while these technological advances have no doubt made driving safer, they by no means make up for bad driving habits. If you’re at the wheel, it’s your responsibility to be an active, vigilant driver.

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