Sep 23, 2016 / Auto & RV
There’s a lot to think about when you’re in the market for a new car: price, gas mileage, make and model, color… The list goes on. There’s another, often-overlooked factor to consider when shopping around for your new set of wheels: car safety features.
Some safety features—such as seat belts, driver and side airbags, anti-lock brake systems, and rear defrost—are now standard. But several new safety features are gaining popularity and they’re not all considered luxury items. Many of them are more affordable than you think and they could even help you get a break on your car insurance.
Crash Prevention Features
1. Automatic Braking
Not to be confused with an anti-lock braking system, an automatic braking system consists of radar, laser, or GPS sensors that activate your car’s brakes and tighten seat belts when they determine that you’re dangerously close to a collision. This can lessen the impact of a collision—or avoid one altogether.
Automatic braking is quickly becoming one of the most popular car safety features. It has been so successful in accident prevention that 20 major carmakers will be making it a standard feature of their cars and trucks by September 2022.
2. Backup Sensors
Just like automatic braking, backup sensors determine how far your car is from that pole behind you and alert you before you feel that unfortunate thump. The system won’t activate your brakes but it will emit a harsh beeping sound to let you know it’s time to stop. If you don’t heed the initial warning, faster-paced beeping will follow.
If you don’t want to pay extra for a rearview camera, get backup sensors instead. The beeping still gets the job done but it’ll cost you substantially less than a rearview camera.
3. Lane Departure Warning System
This car safety feature pulls double duty: it helps you avoid accidents and improves your driving skills. We’re talking to you, distracted drivers.
A lane departure warning system consists of several small cameras or sensors that are placed around the exterior of your car to determine your position within the lane. If you start to change lanes without using a turn signal, the system assumes the change is unintentional and alerts you with a beeping sound or flashing dashboard lights. Then you can either navigate back into your chosen lane or activate your turn signal so other drivers are more aware of your lane change.
Enhanced Visibility Features
1. Adaptive Headlights
If you’re driving in anything but optimal conditions, upgrade to adaptive headlights. They increase your visibility when navigating fog, extreme weather, moonless nights, or winding roads.
Adaptive headlights illuminate your path sooner than traditional headlights by detecting the speed and rotation of your car. For example, adaptive headlights will illuminate the area to the right of your car several seconds before you make a right turn. This increased visibility helps you spot any unexpected people or obstructions that may be in the road.
2. Side View Assist
It’s called your blind spot for a reason. We’ve all been there: you try to change lanes only to hear an angry honk and see another car speeding out of your blind spot as you sheepishly move back into your lane. Oops.
Side view assist is a sensor system designed to prevent that very scenario – or worse. When a nearby car is in your blind spot, the system will alert you by activating a light in your side mirror. If you engage your turn signal and try to change lanes when your blind spot isn’t empty, the system may emit a beeping sound.
3. Parking Assist
Rejoice, bad parallel parkers: parking assist can help you avoid scratched rims, fender benders, and impatient honking from the drivers waiting for you to park so they can pass by.
Parking assist actually does much more than assist: the system detects the size of the parking space nearest you, guides you into the correct starting position, then lets you take your hands off the wheel while the system backs into the parking space for you. All you have to do is relax and admire your perfect parking job.
4. Rearview Camera
Back-up without backing into trouble. Once considered a luxury feature, rearview cameras will become a standard feature for all cars built after May 2018. A rearview camera is a tiny camera mounted at the back of your car which can be viewed through your dashboard or rearview mirror. This helps you see if anything is behind you or quickly approaching before you reverse out of a parking space or driveway.
If you want to see how much bang you can get for your safety feature bucks, obtain a list of all factory-installed safety features for the car you’re thinking of buying and provide it to your insurance carrier. Your insurer can tell you how much you’ll save for each feature. The financial offset may be enough to help you get parking assist and that sweet sound system.
Remember, safety is always in style. Shop smart and drive even smarter.
Are you ready for a new set of wheels? Let Utah First say “Yes” to your car, RV, or motorcycle loan. Get started here, or call us at 800-234-0729.