In Safety, Technology

Cars are getting safer.  Additional safety features are standard in most new cars.  There’s just one problem…it turns out that many of us are not familiar with the features in our own vehicles.


Photo credit: mroach/Flickr

In a study conducted by University of Iowa and the National Safety Council, 40% of people interviewed said their car behaved in a way they weren’t expecting and 32% said that their car reacted in unexpected ways in certain situation. Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of people who had their car behave in an unexpected way turned to Google for answers. But the problem with that is that’s “reactive” not “proactive”.   A new campaign launched by wants to change that and get you to know your car better and make the most of the safety features in your car. Here are a few of the features they describe on their website (the website is very informative and also has many informative videos).

  1. Back-up camera – helps you see directly behind you while backing. Remember to also use your mirrors while backing up, do not rely only on the camera
  2. Anti-lock braking system – help steer in an emergency by restoring traction to your tires
  3. Blind spot monitor – warn you of cars driving in your blind spot
  4. Forward collision warning – alerts you of an impending collision with a slow or a stopped car in front of you
  5. Lane departure warning – uses visual, vibrations, or sound warnings to alert you when you drift out of lane
  6. Tire pressure monitoring system – all the cars manufactured after 2007 have this feature, warning you if you have overinflated or underinflated tires
  7. Adaptive cruise control – maintains your speed and your following distance. Click here for a video of how it works
  8. Adaptive headlights – adapt to changing road conditions
  9. Automatic emergency braking – can apply the brakes to help prevent a crash into a vehicle ahead
  10. Automatic parallel parking – helps you parallel park into a spot, although you are still responsible for braking
  11. Drowsiness alert – alerts you when you are drowsy and will suggest you to take a break when safe to do so
  12. Electronic stability control –helps stabilize the car and prevents losing control in curves and emergency steering maneuvers
  13. High speed alert – sound alert when you’re speeding
  14. Night vision – very useful especially during this time of the year, allows you to see objects better at night by using night-vision technology
  15. Pedestrian detection – uses advanced sensors to detect subtle and slower people movements
  16. Road surface warning – this is a recently introduced feature that warns you about road conditions such as icy roads
  17. Sideview camera – it activates when you use the turn signal or if you activate it manually and shows you an expanded view of the lane beside you
  18. Traction control – works in the background and makes driving smoother by helping maintain control of the car on icy roads or rainy weather

Do you know how many of these features you have on your car? Do you know how to use them? For the full list and detailed explanations of how these features work and how the warnings may look on your dashboard, please go to

Stay safe!

Sources: , University of Iowa 



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