What Car Safety Features & Tech Do You Really Need?
If you plan to purchase a new car anytime soon, you’ll likely be overwhelmed at the amount of driver assist technologies you have to choose from. Each year, automakers seem to add more innovative and modern features that keep us safe on the road.
We have written before that one of the best ways to choose a car for a new driver is to start with the IIHS top picks. That being said, how do you know which ones are important and which you can leave behind? We’ve got the complete rundown for you.
5 Car Safety Features You Don’t Need
There’s a time and place for all driver assist and car safety features, but some of them really aren’t worth investing in for the average driver. Let’s take a look at five I think you could go without (and save some money).
1. Intelligent Headlamps
Automatic high beams are hailed as a way to improve your visibility at night. The system automatically turns your lights to their high beams, then back down again. It runs with the aid of the camera which sends a signal to the lights when taillights or headlights are spotted.
Once those cars are out of your range, the system puts them back on. In reality, it isn’t difficult to adjust the high beams as needed and not really worth the extra money. Of course, if it’s something already included in the price of your car – go for it!
2. Map Lights
You may not immediately think of these as a safety feature, but they are classified as one. Map lights refer to the two lights that sit in front of you and the passenger. They are used to illuminate the space around your lap without causing the driver to lose sight of the road.
I get the concept behind these lights, but are they really needed anymore? Most vehicles today come with a modern navigation system and I am pretty sure I haven’t seen a driver reading a map in quite some time. Furthermore, we all have our cell phones with us that have pretty much everything we need and it illuminates itself.
Maybe in the next few years, we will see cars start to discontinue the practice of including map lights. If you want to do something cool with yours, you could always upgrade to a different color for a unique view in the cabin.
3. Automatic Steering Headlights
At first glance, this sounds like something that could be insanely beneficial, but there are some serious flaws related to it. Basically, the headlights move to light up the path before you. The goal is for them to move synchronously along with the steering so you have increased safety while driving at night.
Unfortunately, it keeps you from receiving a full view of what’s coming. It actually creates a type of blind spot while you travel. I would prefer to see people have a high-quality set of headlights that allow you to see what’s coming.
4. Bird’s Eye-View Camera Technology
It’s vital that you see the road so you can remain safe, but the newer bird’s eye view camera just offers too much. In fact, it’s downright distracting. Special cameras located around the vehicle give a different perspective. Most of the time, the cameras are placed around the car plus on the side mirrors.
Not only does the view make me dizzy at times, but to stop the movement, you need to hit the pause, which is quite annoying.
5. Parking Assist
This is another one of those car safety features I think simply sounds better than it actually is. When you begin to parallel or perpendicular park, sensors on your vehicle scan the spots to find one big enough. After that spot is confirmed, the parking assist is designed to guide you into that place.
First of all, it must take more time for your system to find a spot than for you to look at it yourself. Aside from that, do you really have that much trouble parking at the Starbucks? Is there truly a need for this system?
5 Driver-Assist & Safety Features You Should Invest In
This isn’t all negative; some safety features should be in every car. Here are my top five.
1. Forward-Collision Warning
Every driver has faced a time when the person in front of us decided to stop with no warning. There’s nothing you can do in these moments and you’ll probably never react fast enough if you are traveling at high speed.
With this system, the car uses radar that detects any obstacles and vehicles coming and prevents you from crashing into them. If your car also comes with Autonomous Braking, you’ll be even further protected.
2. Electronic Stability Control
Most new cars come with Electronic Stability Control and for a good reason. It keeps you from losing control and prevents you from rolling over. It also utilizes sensors on your brakes and steering system to determine if your car starts moving in an unintended direction. Then, it gently applies individual brakes and adjusts your speed to bring you back in control.
3. Active Head Restraints
If you find yourself in an accident, it’s vital that your head and neck remain protected. That sudden movement causes your head to snap around violently and often leads to whiplash. When you have active head restraints, this is something you don’t have to worry about as much. As soon as the crash occurs, your restraints get activated. It moves forward to support your head and keeps any further impact from hurting your neck.
4. Blindspot Warning
According to the NHTSA, you can’t see more than 40% of your car exterior because of blind spots. With the use of radars, drivers receive an alert through an indicator or signal when there’s something in a blind spot. This is something worth every penny if it doesn’t come as standard equipment on your car.
5. Tire Pressure Monitoring
Have you ever had a flat tire? Most of them can be avoided by making sure we have the proper amount of inflation in the tires. The reality is that few of us ever check those pressures as often as we should – even us mechanics. With the Tire Pressure Monitoring System, you receive a warning whenever the pressure is low or something is abnormal with your tires. This saves you from potential roadside emergencies and is a vital aspect to modern car safety.
When it comes to buying a new car, salespeople will happily tell you that you must have every safety feature you can get your hands on. Read our guide on how to deal with salesmen to avoid paying for things you don’t need. While some have a genuine purpose, there