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The Hidden Features Keeping You Safe While Driving

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Technology has come a long way in the automotive industry. Cars are now 
equipped with an array of safety features that were once unthinkable. 
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
<> (NHTSA), 35,766 people 
died in road traffic collisions in 2020. The introduction of technology is 
reducing the margin for human error and ultimately making the roads safer. 
Between 2000-2020, the rate of fatal car accidents in the US per 100 
million miles has fallen from 1.53 to 1.34.

Features like seatbelts and airbags were once seen as revolutionary and 
have drastically reduced the number of accidents and injuries caused on the 
roads. From 1975 to 2017, seat belts have saved approximately 374,276 lives 
in the US, according to the NHTSA 

In this article, three experts from AutoVillage 
<> have revealed how car manufacturers are 
striving to keep us safe - without even having to think about it. As cars 
get smarter, even the simplest of tech may be overlooked by the most 
veteran of drivers. They have listed the top potentially life-saving 
features on the market today. 

Dan Powell, Senior Editor at AutoVillage <>, 

“If you are thinking of buying a new or used car then safety will be an 
important priority, but getting your head around the latest terminology and 
tech can be a little overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this top 10 
list to help car buyers make the most informed decision when it comes to 
choosing their next vehicle.�??

   Crash Detection 

Ford has introduced an Automatic Crash Notification System for vehicles 
that are Bluetooth enabled and have smartphone integration. The system 
automatically notifies emergency services if an accident occurs that causes 
the airbags to deploy or shuts off the fuel pump. An introductory message 
is played to the operator and after this hands-free communication is 
initiated, emergency services can then use the cellular network to track 
your vehicle's GPS position. 

The ‘Golden Hour’ is crucial to emergency services. This is the window of 
time after an incident where medical intervention offers the highest chance 
of survival, so a prompt response can mean the difference between life and 
death. With the use of this technology accidents can be reported as soon as 
they occur, alerting emergency services even if the victim is unresponsive. 

Lawrence Allan, Car Expert says:: “Ford was one of the first to introduce 
this vital feature, but it’s become commonplace with other car brands in 
the last few years. It’s the best kind of safety tech for drivers: You may 
never know it’s there, but when it’s needed it could well save your life. “

   Drowsiness Detection

Volvo has plans in place to introduce in-car cameras that assess the 
alertness of the driver by monitoring their eye-movements. This is part of 
their Safety Vision that aims to combat intoxicated and distracted driving. 
If the vehicle detects that the driver is distracted, it will issue warning 
signals. If the driver does not respond to those signals, the vehicle will 
then intervene. These interventions include limiting the vehicle's speed, 
alerting the Volvo on Call assistance service and finally slowing the car 
to a stop and safely parking. 

   Blind Spot camera system 

Lots of modern cars have blind spot monitoring which flashes a light or 
emits an audio warning to alert you if you’re about to cross the path of a 
vehicle in your blind spot. But certain Hyundais and Kias will actually 
display a live camera feed of the area in your blind spot in the instrument 
display when you signal so you can see if the lane is clear.

Lawrence Allan: “Hyundai and Kia’s camera feed blind spot monitoring is 
brilliant. Some warning-based systems in other cars can be over-sensitive, 
but with this system the feed shown in your dials allows you to assess the 
hazard for yourself. It’s not distracting, either.�??

   Lane Assist 

Lane assist is a safety feature that is designed to reduce the chance of 
accidents caused by drifting lanes. It uses a camera to detect where the 
road markings are in relation to your vehicle and if you begin to veer 
across lanes, it will flash up a warning on the dashboard. In some cases it 
will direct the car for you into the middle of the lane, which minimises 
the risk of a crash occurring.

   Anti-Collision Warning System 

An anti-collision warning system uses radar sensors to determine the 
distance between yourself and the car in front. If the vehicle detects that 
you may be getting too close or the vehicle in front brakes harshly, it 
displays a warning and in some cases initiates the brakes. As the vehicle 
has a faster reaction time than any human it significantly reduces the 
severity of accidents and aims to help avoid them all together. 

   Remote parking 

A study conducted by Skoda UK in 2020 revealed that 11%, or 3.74 million, 
drivers have damaged their car whilst looking for somewhere to park. If 
you’re struggling to fit your large SUV into a compact parking space, some 
high-end models are now fitted with remote parking. For example, with the 
top-spec Kia Sorento, you can line your car up to the space, get out and 
remotely reverse into the space by holding a button on the keyfob. You can 
do the same to drive it back out. 

Andy Brady, Editor says: “Most parking spaces were designed for much 
smaller cars than we’re used to today. Many new cars come with an array of 
features to make parking easier, though – from simple parking sensors to a 
reversing camera; many will even reverse in or out of a parking space at 
the touch of a button.�??

   Dashboard Warning Lights 

The warning lights that appear on your dashboard are all colour-coded in 
terms of their severity, and indicate whether the car is safe to drive. For 
example, the blue headlamp is displayed when your lights are on full beam. 
Amber warning lights are more severe, they indicate that there is a fault 
that should be taken note of immediately. It’s likely that the vehicle will 
be safe to drive to the garage, however you should always seek professional 
advice first. Red warning lights are the most serious, this indicates that 
there is a serious fault with your vehicle that is putting both yourself 
and other road users at risk. You should pull over immediately, safely, and 
contact roadside assistance to resolve the issue. 

   Traffic Jam Assist

Many drivers are used to adaptive cruise control which speeds you up or 
slows you down on the motorway, depending on what the car in front is 
doing. But did you know this system also works in traffic? Many modern 
systems will actually work at low speeds and can bring you to a stop, only 
requiring you to brush the throttle to get it going again. It’s designed to 
help vehicles maintain a safe distance and stay within the speed limit, 
allowing the vehicle to warn the driver about a potential collision in time 
to react safely. 

Lawrence Allan: “This feature is a godsend in the kind of snarled-up 
traffic queues you often see on UK roads. Although it only works on 
automatic cars, it helps to reduce stress by dealing with the constant 
stop-start motions for you. In the near future the UK government will pass 
legislation for some of the most advanced versions of this to allow 
hands-free driving in motorway traffic.�??

   Automatic headlights

Sensors in the car detect the ambient light level and automatically switch 
the lights on automatically. If you’re constantly forgetting to turn off 
your full-beams the car can do it for you. Some vehicles are able to detect 
when a vehicle is approaching and adjust the headlights in order to not 
dazzle the oncoming traffic. 

   Tyre wear bars and pressure alert 

Many tyres have wear bars that are positioned at 1.6mm within the grooves 
to show you when the tread is nearing the legal limit. Worn tyres are 
particularly dangerous when wet; the braking distance can increase by up to 
44%. This is due to the tread depth being unable to disperse water as 
efficiently, reducing the grip that your tyres have on the road. Modern 
vehicles also have a feature that alerts you when your tyres deflate below 
a certain level and need air. Not only does this help you maintain the 
tyres and keep them safe - it also helps improve your fuel economy. 

Andy Brady: “The tyres are your car’s only contact point with the road. You 
can have all the safety systems in the world but, if your tires are worn or 
underinflated, it could be a disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, while 
we’d encourage regular checking of your tires, there are systems on hand to 
ensure you don’t inadvertently drive on unroadworthy rubber. All new cars 
sold since 2014 must, by law, be fitted with a tyre pressure monitoring 
system which’ll notify you when the pressure in a tyre drops below a 
certain limit.�??

From the mundane to the amazing, there are a number of features in modern 
cars that help make driving easier and safer. From the dashboard warning 
lights to automatic headlights, these features are designed to keep you 
informed about what's going on with your car and to help you avoid 
accidents. If you're considering purchasing a new car, be sure to research 
which models come with these helpful features.