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Cars are one of the most useful and powerful inventions of humankind. Our cars can take us places that we are otherwise unable to. It all started with the creation of the wheel, up to the invention of the modern car. However, this is not the end of the car evolution as science and technology have made incredible advancements that we fail to believe. The most sophisticated technology owned by consumers isn’t devices held in our hands. Rather, what surrounds us when we get into our vehicles.
A lot of people don’t know what their car is capable of and often drive a pro machine in terms of technology. High-tech touches that were previously reserved for luxury vehicles, are becoming commonplace even in the most affordable models and those features will continue to increase as costs decrease while interest and demand for the features grow.
This functions similarly to conventional cruise control. It is a relatively new technology and maintains the vehicle’s pre-set speed. The difference in the ‘adaptive’ system, is that it automatically detects the speed and distance of the vehicle in front. The new technology utilises a forward-looking radar and has sensors mounted inside the grille. When the car in front slows down, the system decelerates your car and when the road is clear, adaptive cruise control re-accelerates the vehicle back to its normal speed.
Electronic stability control (ESC), also referred to as electronic stability program (ESP) or dynamic stability control (DSC), is a computerised technology that improves a vehicle's stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction (skidding). ESC works to ensure you don't understeer with a front wheel drive car or over steer with a rear wheel drive vehicle. This is very important in the winter when the roads are icy and make turning more difficult.
Newer and more high-end cars can now help you with many aspects of driving. Optional safety features include parking assistance (which will do the parallel parking for you), downhill assist (which automatically keeps your car from accelerating too much as you descend), and sensors that can detect bikes, pedestrians, and other hazards. Some cars will even brake for you if you don’t react in time to avoid a collision (automatic emergency braking). Be sure you’re fully aware of all the features your car offers so you’re not surprised or confused by an unfamiliar indicator light or—even more disconcertingly—by your car stopping or slowing down when you haven’t hit the brakes yourself.
If you’ve ever driven into a gas station and had a moment of forgetfulness, wondering which side your gas tank is on, you’re probably not alone. Whether you’re in a rental car or just feeling a little confused in a car you’ve had for years, you can spare yourself from having to circle the car around to the other side. The answer lies in a small symbol on your dashboard that you may have overlooked — just look for the little arrow or triangle near the gas gauge.
The arrow indicates which side of the car the gas tank is on. If the arrow points left, the car’s filler cap is on the left. If it points right, it’s on your right. This gas tank knowledge may spare you from having to crane your head out the window or from having to hop in and out of the car. The secret is out — all it takes is a quick glance on the dash to know exactly where to pull up to fill up.
Gas cap location isn’t the only cool thing you’ll find if you keep an eye on the dashboard of a new car. The next time you’re driving in winter, you may notice an odd dashboard light that looks like a road with a snowflake on it. It’s meant as a warning that the temperature outside is low enough for roads to freeze.
An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is a safety anti-skid braking system used on aircraft and on land vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, trucks, and buses. ABS operates by preventing the wheels from locking up during braking, thereby maintaining tractive contact with the road surface.
Above each car door, you’ll usually find a handle. You’ve probably always assumed that the purpose of those is to give you something to hold while a driver’s education student takes corners a little faster than you prefer. But these handles are actually very useful to someone with limited mobility trying to get in or out of the car. A wheelchair user or anyone lacking leg strength can hold on for stability while manoeuvring into a comfortable position.
Extra little spaces in cars are super useful if you know they’re there. Some cars like the Toyota Highlanders have great shelf in the middle of the dashboard that’s perfectly placed to hold cell phones and sunglasses. The Land Rover Discovery has a storage area for hiding valuables behind a climate control panel. The Dodge Journey has a compartment under the passenger seat, as well as two cubbies under the floor behind the front row—they’re removable bins, so if you fill them with sodas and ice or use them to transport dirty shoes, you can pull them out to clean them later.
The big space in the back of an SUV often feels like a free-for-all—groceries, sports gear, and that bag of old clothes you keep meaning to donate seem to roll around with every turn you make. Did you ever notice little plastic hooks back there, a couple of feet above the floor? Those actually have a purpose—you’re meant to hang shopping bag handles from them so the bag full of eggs doesn’t topple over. Some cars have them behind the front seats as well. Nissan even has one in the front passenger seat that the company calls a curry hook because it can be used to keep your takeout bags upright. Plus, most cars have hooks above the rear doors—you can hang your coat or dry-cleaning up there to avoid wrinkling. This feature is in pretty much every vehicle at this point, so we’re pretty sure missing out on it isn’t the reason people end up seeling these cars within a year.
The small, convex plastic mirror flips down from the ceiling near the rear-view mirror and provides the perfect angle to quickly check in with your back passengers — no head turning or rear-view mirror adjustment necessary. Sometimes all it takes is a quick, sharp look from Mom or Dad to settle the circus in back, and the mirror is the perfect tool for it.
Don’t you hate it when you can’t hear the music in your car? Isn’t the noise in the cabin frustrating and unnerving? Sometimes, the road, engine, and wind noise are so tremendous, that you can’t even talk to your companions. That’s precisely why you should soundproof your car! Modern soundproofing makes it a lot easier to hear all the subtleties of an orchestral piece, as well as the not-so-subtle whining from your kids in the backseat. Makers are not just adding extra layers of insulation around engine and suspension mounts—some are also adding active noise cancellation, like the type you can get in headphones.
According to ABC News, driving while sleep-deprived has reached worrying levels in Australia, with 20 per cent of respondents to a new survey admitting they have fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in 2017. Even with enhanced safety measures like stability control and collision sensors, a driver who is dozing off behind the wheel is a hazard. Some car makers like Mercedes, Volvo and Audi are making detection systems that monitor how well you are staying in your lane. It also monitors how long you have been driving. When the system detects that you are feeling drowsy – a coffee cup symbol will pop up on the dash signalling you to take a break. Some car manufacturers are also working on sensors that monitor your heart rate and breathing (and also your movement and posture) so it can warn you before you drift off to sleep.
Direct Tire pressure monitor systems uses a sensor mounted in the wheel to measure air pressure in each tire. When air pressure drops 25% below the manufacturer's recommended level, the sensor transmits that information to your car's computer system and triggers your dashboard indicator light. It usually looks like a cross-section of a tire with an exclamation point in it. Some newer cars can tell you which tire is going flat. You can check your car’s manual to find the best pressure for your tire.
If you’re currently on the lookout for a new car and fancy the best features, these are the 12 must-have car safety features that should be on your priority. Remember that safety comes first and these are certified life-saving features worth investing in.
Check out our list of cars with the best safety features at www.motormatcher.com.au. It’s the latest car classified that offers a faster and simpler way to buy cars online.
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