Vehicle safety features have come a long way since the first car was invented in the early 1800s, and that's something we're grateful for year-round. While airbags and seat belts are obvious safety features we certainly wouldn't want to live without, there are several high-tech features that have become game changers in recent years. From preventing accidents to protecting us when accidents do occur, these safety features are worth a nod of gratitude.
Keeping Things Straight: Lane-Keep Assist
Sometimes called a lane departure warning, this safety feature can alert you if your car starts to drift outside of lane markers. Different vehicles have different variations, but the feature will make a sound, flash a light, or vibrate to get your attention. Then, you can gently steer back into the center of your lane. In some vehicles, the system gives more than a warning—if you don't respond within a certain time frame, the feature may actually correct the drifting for you. Keep in mind that this feature will not work if the road's lane markers are faint or covered by snow, gravel, dirt, or leaves.
Lane departure warnings and similar systems have the potential to reduce fatalities in lane departure associated head-on crashes by as much as 46%, reports AAA Foundation. Now that's a safety stat every driver can appreciate.
Just the Right Touch: Emergency Brake Assist
You’ve probably seen, heard, or even been in accidents that start with, “I slammed on the brakes, but it was too late…” In 2012, 30% of all police-reported crashes involved a rear-end collision with another vehicle as the first harmful event in the crash, notes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Emergency brake assist was developed to avoid or reduce the severity of rear-end crashes in certain situations, and it can distinguish regular, calm braking from panicked braking. When the increased speed and pressure of your foot signals an emergency, the emergency brake assist takes over, forcing a powerful stop and decreasing your stopping distance dramatically.
Wake Up & Watch Out: Collision Warning System
Just like lane-keep assist, this safety feature will alert you if you’ve accidentally let your mind wander. If you’re looking elsewhere or zoning out, it will beep, flash, or vibrate to let you know that you are getting close to something (another car, object, fence, etc.) ahead. Once it’s gotten your attention, you can hit the brakes to avoid an accident. (Fingers crossed your car also has emergency brake assist!) Keep in mind that a collision warning system is only designed to alert you to a potential hazard ahead. It will not automatically brake for you.
Safety Under the Hood: Check Engine Light
A flashing check engine light is your warning that there could be something wrong with your vehicle’s ignition, fuel, or emission systems—in other words, something could potentially go very wrong. Not only could you be put in a dangerous situation, but a minor problem could become a major problem if ignored. Find out the top five reasons your check engine light may be on and head to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a definitive answer.
Did you know? Gratitude is beneficial year round, not just during the holidays. Robert Emmons, the world's leading scientific expert on gratitude has found that expressing gratitude improves mental, physical, and relational well-being. So go ahead! Say "thanks" to your seatbelt, show your car little love with a wash and wax, and enjoy a road trip with family and friends!
The safety of you and your loved ones is something to be thankful for year-round, but these sophisticated safety features are only a few of the things at work in your vehicle that help keep you protected. Underneath it all, your tires keep you on the road all the time. Before you hit the road this holiday season, make sure that all of your safety features, whether basic or advanced, are in good working order. Visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care location for a free car inspection and easily schedule your appointment online today. We're open seven days a week!