Like any other average car buyer, I had not set foot into a dealership in over eight years, but I decided that 2017 was the year for a new purchase. Excited at first, I stepped into the dealership office and immediately felt overwhelmed as I stared at the newest, sleek models. I couldn’t help but peer into the car windows and notice how many glamourous features had been added throughout the years. Dashboards now resemble iPads and include sophisticated infotainment systems that can stream calls, texts, music, and so much more. Built-in 46 LTE Wi-Fi hotspots, traffic light recognition systems, forward collision cameras, and voice recognition systems are just a few of the many features that are offered in new vehicles.
The Jetson-age of cars is here and these advanced technological functions have paved the way for innovative vehicles moving forward; however, they come at a price. While I was in awe of all the latest options, I knew that I couldn’t afford every single upgrade and feature. Safety being a top priority for me, I decided to research various features that would better prevent accidents on the road. From that, I homed in on three key safety features that a car buyer shouldn’t skip out on in 2017.
- Lane-keep assist. Travis Mayor, a car accident lawyer in Portland, found that distracted drivers are the number one cause of car accidents. In fact, each day eight people are killed and 1,161 are injured in crashes that reportedly involve a distracted driver. While attention is diverted, most distracted drivers begin to drift into other lanes, causing side-swipe collisions and other devastating motor vehicle accidents. With a lane-keeping assist feature, the car is actually able to detect the painted lane markings on the road and hold the car within. Should any drifting occur, the car can automatically steer back into center.
- Forward collision warnings. Rear cameras have become increasingly common in cars and have helped prevent accidents while reversing. Now manufacturers have begun to offer forward collision systems, which include automatic emergency braking. While these systems could tack on $250-$400, experts report that they could reduce rear-end crashes drastically. The IIHS estimates that 1.9 million total crashes could be prevented each year if all vehicles were equipped with forward collision systems.
- Blind-spot detection & rear-cross traffic alert. Sensors around the car are now able to detect various movements of other vehicles. Blind-spot detection alerts a driver when other vehicles are in a car’s blind spot while changing lanes. Similarly, rear-cross traffic alerts detect when other cars are approaching the rear of your vehicle while you are in reverse. These two features are generally paired together and can help a driver immensely while navigating the road.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed as a car buyer, but these three features can mitigate driver risks and potentially save lives. As you are shopping around, decide on features that are important to you and take your time in the selection process.
Katie Bassett is a digital marketing strategist at Safer America, a safety advocacy organization, who primarily focuses on youth safety and development projects.