5 of the best modern car safety features

29 August 2019

Imagine if your car could tell if you were too tired or distracted while driving, and draw your attention back to the road. That’s not something from the futuristic realm of flying cars; it’s something already in the works.

Facial recognition software is one of a whole bunch of innovative car safety features designed to help keep drivers, passengers, and pedestrians safer. Some are already on the market and becoming more commonplace, while others are still being finessed.

1. Adaptive cruise control

Cruise control has become a standard feature in most cars over the last few decades, but adaptive cruise control is still relatively new, especially in Australia. It works in a similar way to regular cruise control, maintaining the speed you’ve set. But, as an additional safety feature, it also automatically adjusts the speed to match the flow of traffic.

So, for example, if you’re cruising along at 100km/h on the highway and the car in front of you slows down, adaptive cruise control will slow your car down too. When it’s time to overtake and you get into the right lane, clear of obstruction, the system will remember the original speed you programmed and safely accelerate back to it for you.

2. Night vision

It can be really tricky to see when driving at night and in low light. Headlights have their limits, but night vision could be the next big solution. These systems warn drivers of pedestrians, animals, bicycles, and other road hazards that are difficult to see in the darkness.

Night vision is currently only found in premium vehicles, but could become more affordable in the years to come.

3. Safe Exit Assist

Modern car safety features aren’t just for when you’re driving. Hyundai proved this with Safe Exit Assist, featured in their 2018 Santa Fe model. When parked, this technology checks for any potential dangers – like another car or bike approaching from behind – and temporarily locks the door until it’s safe again.

Hyundai is the first to introduce this technology, but with the benefits it can have for parents with young children, or even taxis and ride-sharing services, this could soon be a popular feature.

4. Smart headlights

If you’ve ever driven along a particularly dark stretch of road, or struggled to see in really poor weather, you’ll know how tempting it is to blast your high beams. Unfortunately that’s not super safe for other drivers, so you either have to live with the low beams or continually flick your high beams on and off every time you approach another car.

Smart headlights aim to resolve this, by automatically adjusting the angle of your high beams so that it’s still illuminating your path without blinding oncoming traffic.  

5. Facial recognition software

Having your smartphone scan your face to let you unlock it is one thing, but what about having a similar technology in your car? Not to unlock it, but for a bigger safety concern – making sure drivers aren’t too fatigued or distracted.

The facial recognition software currently being developed monitors eye blinking, facial expressions and head movements. If the system detects that the driver might be not paying attention or is falling asleep, it will send a visual or audible alert.

Car manufacturers are investing a lot of time and effort into improving safety for drivers, passengers, and even pedestrians. New technology could go a long way in decreasing the amount of accidents that happen on our roads.

For times when the unexpected does happen, though, it can still be a good idea to be covered. Check out Suncorp’s car insurance products to learn more.

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