Experts agree that your first and best line of defense when driving is to be alert and aware of your surroundings. But in the real world, where distractions and bad weather can conspire against you, it helps to have some backup.
Fortunately, automakers have been hard at work on cutting-edge technology that can keep you and your family safe. Some of these features can even intervene to keep you from driving off the road or into another vehicle. Think of them as an electronic guardian angel.
We partnered with Honk and searched through the hundreds of
to pull together a list of the most advanced safety features available on the road today.
1. Lane Departure Warning & Prevention
Have you ever reached for something in the car only to find that you've veered from your lane once you look back up? Several automakers are hoping to avoid this dangerous situation through a feature called Lane Departure Warning.
These systems use a camera to look ahead and keep track of where your vehicle is in relation to lane markings. If you veer too close without using your turn signal or without deliberately turning the wheel, the system will beep to alert you.
Infiniti's version of the technology goes one step farther and can gently apply the brakes on the opposite side of the car to prevent it from leaving the lane. It’s available on the Infiniti FX and EX crossovers and the M sedan.
For the time being, Lane Departure Warning systems are fairly expensive and are found mainly in high-end luxury cars. Prices are coming down, though, and you can now find the feature on more reasonably priced cars, like the Buick Lucerne or Volvo S60.
2. Blind Spot Detection & Prevention
You can't avoid what you can't see. Blind Spot Detection systems use radar sensors to detect cars that are either in your blind spot or that are approaching very quickly.
Different automakers have different ways to alert the driver but most include some kind of warning light on or near the side-view mirrors.
Infiniti's take on the technology goes one step farther and will actively try to prevent you from side-swiping another vehicle. The system will carefully activate the brakes on the opposite side of your car, tugging you back if you make a wrong move. This can buy precious fractions of a second for the driver to react accordingly.
3. Collision Mitigation
Collision Mitigation systems use a combination of cameras, lasers, and radar to watch out for obstacles ahead. If a collision is imminent, the system will alert the driver. And if the driver fails to react to the warning, some systems can even apply the brakes to either avoid the accident entirely or to at least minimize the severity of the hit.