Chances are you’ve been involved in a minor fender-bender, accounting for one of the 6 million car accidents in the U.S. every year. Even as many states have enacted laws on distracted driving, such as restricting cell phone use while behind the wheel, distractions cannot always be avoided. So how can you ensure you’re not a statistic? And can your own car help you avoid a trip to the body shop?
Here are all the things you can do:
- Wear a seatbelt.
- Adjust your side mirrors.
- Don’t speed.
- Don’t use your smartphone while driving.
- Do not drive under the influence.
- Keep your eyes moving. (The more you scan, the more you see.)
- Assume other drivers don’t know how to drive.
- Don’t pass on the right.
- Slow down when driving in bad weather.
You can do all of these things, but this assumes you’ll be alert at all times. Reality is often different. A too long glance at a new billboard or a passing car with the driver’s dog out the window is all it takes for disaster to strike. So how else can you ensure that you and your precious cargo are safe?
Driver’s assistance. If you’ve shopped for a car in the last five years, you’ve most likely been shown one with advanced features like lane assist and pedestrian detection. Statistics have shown that added safety features like these both prevent collisions and minimize the severity of said collisions. Which features should you definitely have?
- Lane keeping alert/assist
While driving, you are alerted of drifting out of your lane, and in some technology packages, the vehicle corrects to return you to the correct lane.
- Emergency braking with pedestrian detection
At lower speeds, the vehicle scans for pedestrians and stops the vehicle if the driver does not react. Many vehicles have this in place for moving in reverse as well.
- Forward collision warning with braking
At low speeds, the vehicle comes to a complete stop if the vehicle senses an impending collision from the front and the driver does not react. At higher speeds, braking is applied to slow the vehicle in order to mitigate impact.
- Active cruise control
With cruise control engaged, the driver applies a distance buffer, which keeps the vehicle at a safe distance from any vehicles directly ahead, even reducing speed to keep the set buffer. Speed resumes at the set level when path is clear.
Watch this video to see a visualization of some of the features!
Most driver assistance packages come standard, so have a conversation with your dealer to determine what you need if it isn’t. Some packages may be sold separately for an added cost, though having peace of mind while on your next road trip is priceless.