5 Active Safety Features You‘ll Want on Your Next Car
In case you haven’t noticed, there are more cars on the roads every year.
The good news is, every year our roads become safer.
Cynics might argue that’s because congestion slows us down—but safety technology plays a part too.
Accident protection or accident avoidance?
Energy-absorbing structures—or “crumple zones”—reduce impact severity, while advanced high-strength steels make passenger compartments stronger than ever.
Airbags protect us from injury and traction control and anti-lock braking systems help us avoid accidents altogether.
Read that last sentence again. Isn’t avoiding accidents the best way to improve safety?
GM certainly thinks so. That’s why their latest models come packed with accident avoidance technologies.
Engineers call this approach “active safety.”
Engineers create “active safety” by adding sensors to our cars and trucks. These let the driver know about vehicles and objects that are too close for comfort.
Some monitor where the car is on the road. The most advanced systems will even intervene to prevent an accident.
The other approach is to have cars “talk” to each other. This is what’s called “vehicle-to-vehicle,” or V2V, communication and it’s available on the latest Cadillacs.
V2V and these other technologies are often described as Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, or ADAS.
GM is investing heavily in ADAS and has a lot of systems in cars already.
Here are five we think you’ll really want.
Blind spot warning
There’s a car in the next lane that you can’t quite see but you need to move over. This is where a blind spot warning system comes to your rescue.
An ultrasonic sensor in each door mirror sends a signal out along each side of your car. If an echo comes back the system turns on a warning signal embedded in the mirror.
It’s simple but really effective. Most drivers who’ve tried it say they never want to be without.
Really advanced systems can even nudge the car back into your lane—and away from the other vehicle.
That’s pretty amazing, but for most of us, a warning is all we need.
You can get blind spot warning, (Chevy calls it Side Blind Zone Alert,) on vehicles like the 2019 Equinox. (You will need to step up to the Premier trim level, though, or add it as an option to the LT.)
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
If you’ve driven a vehicle with a rearview camera, you’ll understand just how useful they are.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert supplements the camera with sensors that detect people or cars approaching from the sides. This is really helpful when you’re reversing out of a space and there’s a full-sized SUV parked next to you.
Forward Collision Alert
Have you ever found the vehicle in front had stopped when you thought it was just slowing down? It’s a heart-stopping moment that will have you hitting the brakes hard.
Well, Forward Collision Alert helps avoid that. This measures the distance to the car in front. If that gap suddenly starts to shrink it lets you know you need to brake.
Most of these systems will also indicate if you’re too close to the car in front. (Especially helpful for your inexperienced teen driver!) Advanced systems even apply the brakes for you to avoid an accident—or at least minimize impact severity.
Front Pedestrian Braking
This one’s really useful for anyone who drives in urban areas. Similar to Forward Collision Warning, it scans the road ahead, but this time for pedestrians. Should someone step out in front while you’re looking at road signs, the system applies the brakes automatically. This also illustrates how ADAS helps protect against other people’s mistakes.
Lane Keep Assist
We’ve all had moments when we let our car drift right or left. Lane Keep Assist uses a camera to monitor where your car is in relation to the lane markings. If you start drifting to one side the system gently turns the wheel to put you back in position. Sensibly, it doesn’t work when your turn signals are activated.
The first time you encounter Lane Keep Assist it’s a little unnerving. The car is actually taking over to keep you out of trouble. Perhaps it’s something we’ll get used to in the future though!
See for yourself
If you’ve never experienced these active safety technologies come down to Budds’ Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC. We’ll arrange a test drive where you can see just how well they work.
Just one word of caution, though… Safety technology is pretty amazing—but you still need to drive safely!