Every year, there are improvements in automotive safety technology. Many of the most exciting innovations focus not on helping drivers survive accidents, but preventing crashes in the first place.
These driver-assistive features can function as an extra pair of eyes when you’re on the road, and they’re essential for those who want to ensure safe travels when they’re behind the wheel. If you’re shopping for a used car, you’re in luck: Many of these features have been on the market long enough to be widely available in used vehicles.
Below are four must-have safety features to look for in your next used car. All of these features are designed to help you avoid accidents and keep your car free of damage.
1. Rearview Camera
Putting your car in reverse and backing out of a parking spot is a maneuver that always has come with certain perils. In tight spaces, it can be hard to see just how much distance exists between the rear bumper and nearby objects, and making a bad call can result in damage to your vehicle. Also, it’s impossible to see small objects, pets or kids on the ground that lie directly in your path.
A rearview camera provides immeasurable assistance during these maneuvers. This system uses cameras mounted on the rear of the vehicle to capture a clear view of what’s behind you when your car is in reverse. These images are fed to a screen mounted to the dash of your vehicle.
If making rearward maneuvers in your vehicle triggers anxiety, this feature is just what you’re looking for. A rearview camera allows you to back out of driveways and parking spaces with confidence.
2. Blind Spot Monitoring
Your car’s exterior mirrors give you a visual of adjacent traffic when you’re changing lanes, but this visual is only a partial picture. There is a blind spot alongside your vehicle that isn’t reflected in the exterior mirrors, and the only way to glimpse traffic in this area is to look over your shoulder. If there’s traffic in your blind spot and you unknowingly make a lane change, the results could be tragic.
A blind-spot monitor uses sensors to determine whether there’s traffic adjacent to your vehicle. If this system detects another car in a neighboring lane, it notifies the driver by issuing a visual or audible warning. This technology can help you make safe lane changes on highways and city streets.
3. Forward Collision Mitigation
Our reflexes aren’t always quick enough to help us avoid accidents when we’re on the road. If the car in front of you suddenly stops, or if a deer appears in your path out of nowhere, you may not be able to hit the brakes quickly enough to prevent a collision.
That’s where a forward-collision mitigation system comes in. This feature uses radar, laser or camera technology to determine whether there’s an object in your path that threatens to cause a collision. If the system concludes that a collision is imminent, it automatically will hit the brakes to prevent impact.
Like many advanced technology features, forward-collision mitigation initially was offered only on luxury models. In recent years, though, this feature has become available on models at all price points, and you should have no difficulty finding this amenity on a used car.
4. Front and Rear Parking Sensors
Minor dings and dents are a nuisance, and this type of body damage can take the shine off your recently purchased used car. Getting this damage properly repaired at a body shop can be expensive. These scrapes and chips often are incurred during parking maneuvers.
To help avoid dents and dings, purchase a car with front and rear parking sensors. These sensors detect if there’s an object in your vehicle’s path as you’re backing into or out of a parking space. They employ either electromagnetic or ultrasonic sensors to make this determination, and they warn the driver of nearby objects with acoustic tones or visual aids.
Parking sensors are a good investment if you’re interested in keeping your used car in good shape all throughout its lifetime.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Whether it’s major or minor, an accident can cause bodily injury and reduce the value of a prized investment: your car. The safety features discussed above can help you drastically reduce the risk of having a mishap when you’re behind the wheel.