No matter what decade you were born in, as long as you’re old enough to drive now, this statement rings true: cars are much safer now than when you were a kid.
For those of us born in the era before the internet, that statement means a whole lot more. Airbags weren’t standard in all vehicles until 1999, after all. Going back further, cars manufactured before 1968 didn’t even have to have seat belts.
You don’t have to have memories of the disco days to appreciate the best new car safety features of 2023. You don’t even have to break the bank, as some of these features are included as standard in many models.
There are also experimental safety features you’ll only find on the most pricey of vehicles. While these are worth a mention, the truth is that a specific package of five Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can make a world of difference, according to findings from Consumer Reports.
What Are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)?
ADAS technologies are a relatively recent development in the timeline of motor vehicles. They use computerized controls to intervene in the vehicle’s basic functions, taking over purely mechanical inputs fed by the driver in order to reduce the risk of harm.
One of the first successful ADAS technologies was adopted way back in the 1970s: anti-lock brakes (ABS). We may take this system for granted now, but it actually was the result of some highly advanced machine and computational engineering, and it represented a significant investment on the part of automakers.
All ABS systems are electronically controlled, with independent speed sensors placed in each wheel. The technology was first pioneered on state-of-the-art Formula 1 cars, then made its way to luxury vehicles before becoming standard in nearly all vehicles today.
That same journey has taken place with traction control systems (TCS) and active suspensions, both of which originally represented multi-million dollar investments. These systems adapt by controlling the torque applied to the wheels (traction control) or the tension in suspension coils (adaptive suspension) in response to real-time road conditions. If you’ve ever driven through a puddle or around a corner with loose gravel, chances are your traction control system was there to get you on the other side safely.
The Five Most Important Safety Features, According to Consumer Reports
ADAS technologies have expanded by leaps and bounds since the early 2000s. Many vehicles are now equipped with camera monitors and other sensors in order to help prevent accidents — or, at the very least, reduce their severity.
Not all new technologies are safe, though. Nor are they necessarily enjoyed by drivers. According to surveys of vehicle owners by Consumer Reports, many drivers aren’t fans of systems like lane departure warning (LDW) and lane keeping assistance (LKA), the latter of which literally takes control of the wheel out of your hands when it thinks you’re about to veer off course. In many cases, drivers are simply maneuvering in their lane or trying to avoid obstacles, leading to a nasty surprise when the wheel unexpectedly nudges them back in the other direction.
“The best systems help drivers stay safer and more relaxed behind the wheel,” says Consumer Report’s Kelly Funkhouser. “The worst systems take a driver’s attention away from the road.”
With these criteria in mind, and survey data in hand, Consumer Reports documented the most-liked new car safety features for 2023 as follows:
Rear Cross Traffic Warning (RCTW)
We start the alphabet soup of modern ADAS technologies off with a feature that prevents a common source of unexpected collisions: backups. While backup cameras are required by law for all new vehicles sold since the 2019 model year, the truth is that a camera can only do so much. It’s often challenging to focus on the monitor and back up at the same time. It’s also sometimes easy to miss someone zipping into the corner of your view.
RCTW alerts you in the event that a vehicle approaches you as you try to back up. Some models will even automatically brake for you, sparing you the trouble of having to send your vehicle to the shop for a new rear end.
Blind Spot Warning (BSW)
Blind spot warning systems do what they say on the tin: they warn you when a vehicle is riding within your blind spot. The system typically notifies you through a light indicator, either in the cabin or on the side of the mirror. They can get a bit too familiar, considering they light up regardless of whether you are attempting a lane change or other maneuver, but they are extremely valuable as a reference point whenever you are considering those moves.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
Cruise control first appeared in vehicles in the late 1950s, and it’s now found on just about every vehicle. Adaptive cruise control takes the concept one step further: it automatically adjusts in light of traffic and road conditions. The technology essentially takes one of the main concerns of driving away, but don’t let that make you too content, as it’s a far cry from actual autonomous driving.
Lane Centering Assistance (LCA)
Lane-centering assistance is the second major component to cruising comfortably in highway situations. It tracks the painted lane markers and offers subtle inputs to keep the vehicle on track. With LCA and ACC both active, a driver must still remain alert but is no longer tasked with the most basic functions of accelerating and steering. Also, unlike LKA, the inputs from the vehicle are not sudden nor unexpected, giving drivers more confidence and peace of mind comparatively.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
AEB uses sensors to determine when an impact is likely — usually just a forward impact, though. When the system detects an incoming collision, it will apply the maximum safe level of braking. Many manufacturers are now working on making the feature standard on all models.
Work With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Team
All of the safety features in the world are sometimes not enough to prevent a collision. Between drunk drivers, speeders, and people putting way too much faith in their supposed “Self-Driving” vehicle systems, there is always the risk that a negligent driver will cause an accident with you.
When you have sustained injuries in a car crash, it’s time to consider your legal options. A car accident lawyer from Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law can help you examine the cause of your crash, determine liability, and seek all of the damages you have suffered from all responsible parties.
Find out how much your case could be worth and how our car accident attorneys can assist you during a free, no-obligation case review. Call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.