A guide to must-have modern car safety features

24 June 2024

Thanks to advancements in AI and sensor technology, vehicles have become significantly smarter and safer over the last two decades.

From facial recognition software that can identify distracted driving to blind spot sensors, here are some modern safety features to consider if you’re in the market for a new car.

Blind spot sensors

Blind spot sensors are typically located on the corners of the rear bumper. These sensors can flash a warning sign in the side mirrors if you’re about to change lanes and cut off a vehicle in your blind spot, which can help reduce the risk of accidents during lane changes.

Rear bumper sensors can also function as door exit warnings. Cyclists and vehicles approaching your stationary car can trigger a beep or flashing lights in the side mirror to alert you before you open the door.

With real time awareness of your surroundings, you can more easily prevent these kinds of accidents before they happen.

Rear autonomous emergency braking (RAEB)

Frontal autonomous emergency braking is now fitted to almost all new vehicles on the market in Australia, but the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is also testing RAEB systems.1

RAEB can detect vehicles or pedestrians behind your car and can help avoid reversing-related accidents.

Adaptive cruise control

Cruise control is now a standard feature in most new vehicles, but adaptive cruise control is still relatively new, especially in Australia. Adaptive cruise control not only maintains the speed you’ve set, but it can also automatically adjust the speed to match the flow of traffic.

So if you’re cruising at 100km/h on the highway and the car in front slows down, adaptive cruise control will slow down your car too. Then it will accelerate again to the original speed once the car in front has done the same.

Tyre pressure monitor systems (TPMS)

TPMS can be invaluable to road safety because sudden deflation of the tyres can cause an accident at high speed. These monitors use sensors to constantly measure the air pressure in each tyre and transmit the data to the car’s monitor.

Tyre monitors can also improve:

  • fuel efficiency
  • extend tyre lifespan by preventing premature wear, and
  • enhance overall vehicle stability.

Smart headlights

Also known as adaptive front lighting system (AFS), these smart headlights can make driving at night easier by automatically optimising the distribution of light based on driving circumstances.

So if you’re driving around a corner, the headlights will turn up to 15 degrees to better illuminate any oncoming traffic. Or if it detects an oncoming vehicle, it can also automatically dim your car’s high beam lights.2

AI driver fatigue monitoring camera

Using eye tracking and advanced AI facial recognition software, these monitoring cameras can detect signs of driver fatigue or distraction and trigger audio or visual alerts to help you stay focused on the road ahead.3

Do all car boots have a safety latch?

Yes, almost all cars are equipped with a safety latch, lever or a simple button that can be used to open the boot from the inside. This safety latch also prevents accidental opening while driving and helps to ensure the safety of your cargo.

How to check your car's safety rating

When thinking about which car to purchase, consider looking at how well its safety features rank on ANCAP’s website. ANCAP uses a variety of tests, such as simulations of common accident types, to judge how safe a car is. According to ANCAP, you have twice the chance of avoiding serious injury or death in a 5-star car than in a 3-star one.4

Consider getting insurance cover for your car

And don’t just stop at personal safety. Consider Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance, which can provide cover for accidental loss or damage to your car or other people’s cars or property. Our comprehensive cover also includes protection for vandalism or malicious damage, and can provide you with a hire car for up to 21 days if your vehicle is stolen.

Conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Read the Product Disclosure Statement for details.

Get a Comprehensive Car Insurance quote

Can I sell a car without a safety certificate?

Specific requirements for a safety certificate – also known as a roadworthy – vary depending on your state or territory, so check the relevant laws and regulations.

According to the Queensland Government, in Queensland, you can offer a registered vehicle for sale without a safety certificate, but you must still obtain a safety certificate prior to disposing of a registered vehicle, other than to a dealer.5

Read more:

1 Car Expert

2 Mazda

3 Future Fleet


5 QLD Government

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement. The Target Market Determination is also available.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.