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Best and Worst Tech and Safety Features in New Cars

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We may not have flying cars like the Jetsons or levitating hoverboards like Back to the Future. Still, new cars today offer a plethora of futuristic and intriguing features that can not only improve your driving experience but even save your life. Deciphering which tech and safety features to choose from can be a dizzying endeavor, and while many of these features are extremely useful, there are plenty worth avoiding. Here are the necessary and unnecessary tech and safety features to look for in your new car. 


Safety First


When it comes to buying a new car, safety is easily the most important. The first safety feature to look for in your new vehicle is a five-star safety rating from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the past, crash-test performance for new vehicles varied much more than it does today, as most new cars earn a five-star rating. Any new car with a rating of under five stars is a major red flag and should not be considered for purchase. You can find a car’s crash-test performance rating from the NHTSA website, as well as a slew of other information regarding recalls, road safety, and risky driving. 


Another must-have safety feature is automatic emergency braking (AEB), which can prevent not just the severity of crashes, but crashes themselves by automatically slamming on your brakes when the car’s sensors recognize an impending collision. While AEB will not always prevent car crashes, prominent automobile safety organizations such as NHTSA and Consumer Reports have them efficacious enough to recommend automakers to include AEB on all new cars.


There are different versions of AEB, with more advanced versions able to detect pedestrians and cyclists. The technology behind these newer AEB systems is expected to improve significantly over the next couple of years, so the AEB system does not need to incorporate pedestrian and cyclist detection. Also, many automakers market AEB technology under different names, such as Front Assist or Brake Support; however, they all serve the same purpose. Lastly, remember that AEB is only employed in emergency scenarios and should only be used as a backup in case of driver error. Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 22.49.06


The last useful safety feature in new cars is blind-spot warning. Blind-spot detection alerts drivers when vehicles are in their blind sport with audible, visual, or tactile warnings. Consumer Reports has found that blind-spot warning is one of the most beloved features available in new cars, with many customers claiming that once they try it, they can never buy a car without it again. 


Amy Gaiennie, a personal injury lawyer at Gaiennie Law Office raves about the value of driving safety features. 


“Blind spot warning and AEB technology have the potential to help prevent car accidents at high speeds,” says Gaiennie. “Equipping your car with the best safety features is a great way to practice defensive driving and prevent collisions on the roadway.” 


Best Tech Features


J.D. Power is the preeminent consumer research and consulting firm in the automaker industry, and they have found these tech features to be the highest rated in their customer surveys. 


Camera-based technologies, such as rearview and 360-degree monitors for when the car is in reverse, have been especially popular and useful to consumers. Additionally, consumers have raved about rearview mirrors with the ability to be switched to a rearview camera, as it allows drivers to see everything behind their vehicle for when cargo or passengers obstruct their view. 


Adaptive-cruise-control (ACC) is also a popular add-on. ACC is used on the highway, with the driver setting the desired speed and the vehicle speeding up or slowing down to maintain a certain distance from vehicles ahead. Despite the fact that ACC has not been proven to reduce collisions, it markedly improves driving on the highway and helps drivers maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.  


Another favorite feature is the head-up display. What used to be considered a gimmick two decades ago when first introduced, head-up display now projects not just the driver’s speed but the speed limit, navigation directions, blind spot warnings, and ACC details onto the windshield.  


When it comes to infotainment systems, the less distracting and more straightforward the infotainment system, the better. Customers have responded best to screen layouts that are simplistic or integrate the driver’s phone into the car with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, all while prioritizing traffic safety in FL. Consumers prefer these types of designs because they are already familiar with the navigation and entertainment apps on their phones and do not want to have to learn a whole new system.


Worst Tech Features


Easily the most complained about tech feature in new cars today is voice assist. In most cars, voice control features cost extra, and the added benefit is extremely minimal, especially when considering how poorly some voice assistants actually work. 


Drivers are also regularly displeased and frustrated with gesture control, which detects the driver’s hand motions to control the infotainment system. Although it may sound appealing, gesture control overcomplicates what is otherwise a very trivial process, such as adjusting the radio volume. Similarly, this is why many drivers dislike touchscreen infotainment systems, as traditional controls like the volume knob have yet to be improved upon. 


Other cool-sounding features that do not live up to the hype are remote parking and lane departure warning. The technology for both of these innovations is never quite right, either too sensitive or not sensitive enough, ultimately making it easier for the driver not to have these features at all. 


Above all else, remember every driver is different, so try out these features for yourself before you decide to include or disregard a particular add-on.