Many of the features you've seen in futuristic cars in movies and cartoons are actually here today. In the ongoing quest to make cars safer, today's new vehicles feature unprecedented levels of technology designed to help prevent crashes and reduce injuries. Not too many years ago, the idea of a car steering itself was considered science fiction. Today, that fiction is fact.
Here are CarLocate.com's top picks for safety technology in new cars*:
Adaptive Cruise Control allows the driver to set a speed, just like regular cruise control; however, adaptive cruise control automatically reduces speed if the car gets too close to another vehicle on the road ahead.
Blind Spot Warning Systems monitor the areas around your car that are often not visible in your side view mirrors – the rear sides of the vehicle – and provide a visual signal when a vehicle is detected in those areas.
Collision Preparation Systems are set up to recognize situations in which an accident may be imminent, such as when the car is moving up too quickly on the car ahead or the driver slams on the brakes. Collision preparation systems take steps to help avert the accident and protect the car's occupants by performing actions such as applying the brakes or readying the braking system to reduce as much speed as possible when the driver hits the brakes and removing any slack from the seat belts.
Driver Alertness Monitors help to stop drivers from falling asleep at the wheel by monitoring the driver's actions and issuing an audible signal if the driver's steering and throttle activities vary too much from normal patterns.
Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control technology detects vehicle instability or loss of vehicle control and intervenes to keep the car on course and help the driver maintain control. Rollover control extends the operation of stability control to help keep the vehicle from turning over during extreme cornering.
Lane Change Warning Systems monitor the position of a car within the roadway lane and issue an alert when the vehicle drifts outside its lane (unless a turn signal is on in that direction). Some systems are able to automatically steer the car toward the center of the lane.
Programmable Ignition Key technology uses a computer chip in the vehicle's ignition key to control car mechanics. Many of these features may appeal to parents, such as limiting a car's top speed or audio system levels and sounding a continuous alert if the driver doesn't wear a seatbelt.
Self-parking Systems use sensors on the front and rear of the vehicle combined with electric power steering to park the car.
* Note: These features may not be available from every manufacturer or in every car.