You can hardly believe that your baby is old enough to drive. It’s one thing to muster the confidence to trust them on the open road, but when it comes to trusting other drivers on the road, that’s another story. While you’ve done all you can to help your teen learn to drive defensively, there’s really only so much you can do. Luckily for parents, auto manufacturers are including more high-tech safety features standard in new vehicles, through state-of-the-art accident avoidance systems. Here are some of the most useful safety features that may convince you to buy a new car for your teen instead of an older model.
Using a combination of laser, radar and camera detection, this feature is designed to monitor the speed and positioning of cars ahead of you. If you’re driving too fast towards them upon approach or not braking soon enough, the system alerts the driver through an audio or visual alert, or a combination of the two. If the alerts are ignored or there isn’t enough driver reaction time between alert and a possible collision, most systems automatically engage the braking system. While most systems are only able to auto-engage brakes to prevent an accident at speeds 20 MPH or less, they can help to reduce the impact force at higher speeds.
Test Drive It: 2014 Subaru Forester
Brakes are getting smarter, and vehicles with Brake Assist technology can tell the difference between a gradual stop and a panicked one. When the system detects drivers slamming on the brakes to prevent an accident, it automatically engages the brakes at their maximum force. By working with the traditional anti-lock braking system, brake assist allows for threshold braking without causing the wheels to lock up.
Test Drive It: 2015 Acura MDX
Lane Departure Warning
Though you’ve stressed the importance of staying in your own lane to your teen, this high-tech feature ensures that it happens. Lane departure warnings use laser sensors and cameras to maintain awareness of the vehicle’s location and sends an alert if the vehicle veers out of its lane without using the turn signal. In most cars, the driver is alerted by a vibration in the driver’s seat or steering wheel. More advanced versions of lane departure warning systems offer active safety handling, which brings the vehicle back into its own lane automatically. The only downside of this safety feature is that it relies on clearly visible lane markers, so the system cannot function optimally in harsh weather conditions that limit visibility like rain, sleet or snow—which is when many need it most.
Test Drive It: 2014 Honda Civic Coupe
Prevent a parallel parking dustup by investing in a car with birds-eye view. This feature uses cameras that are mounted around the vehicle to provide a complete picture of your surroundings so you can clearly see how much room there is to park the vehicle in a tight spot without accidentally backing into the car behind you.