When buying a new car, contemplating what features you want can be exciting. However, with the multitude of options for consumers, this task can become daunting, and at times, even harrowing. After taking a defensive driving course online, hardwiring excellent driving skills into your mind, the next step is to find the car that best suits your wants, needs, and perhaps even supplements your abilities or shortcomings, which essentially divides our tech into two general categories: safety and entertainment.
Objectively the most important thing while on the road. The bells and whistles can wait. Let’s talk about the things other than how bad are NY drivers, that could make your life easier or even save it on the road. Some of the most popular and effective features for driver safety:
Blindspot Monitoring – sensors on your car that alert you when a vehicle is in your blind spot, allowing you to more safely make a lane change.
Anti-Collision Braking – automatically applies the brakes when your car is headed at an unsafe speed toward a still or slow-moving object (ex. If a car in front of you suddenly stops).
Backup Cameras – The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires all vehicles built beginning May of 2018 to include backup cameras, so this may not be a choice for you if buying new. However, if buying an older model of a car, consider the different types of cameras; some with more visibility features, wider field of view, and some multi-camera systems that compile an “overhead” view of your vehicle.
Torque/Brake Vectoring – a passive system that assists sharp, high-speed turns to increase traction and help avoid loss of control.
GPS – This option becomes a little less common as independent GPS units are concerned, but newer cars support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which bring several key features beyond GPS from your phone to your vehicle’s dashboard.
OnStar – OnStar quickly became the standard for convenience and emergency services (again at a monthly subscription cost). Depending on the vehicle and your plan, OnStar can offer a variety of services, like Wi-Fi, remote lock/unlock, navigation, stolen vehicle tracking, and live assistance in the event of an accident, mechanical issue, environmental disaster, or medical emergency.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it highlights some of the most popular and/or standard safety features in new vehicles that augment your safe driving experience.
Now that we’ve invested all we could into the safety of ourselves, our passengers, and our fellow drivers (right?), we can move on to the more exciting features.
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto – Just mentioned above, this feature brings relevant applications on your phone to your car’s dashboard screen, like GPS, music, calls/texts, etc. It’s a streamlined way to keep your vehicle in the same tech ecosystem as your phone, but should also be thoughtfully considered if you tend to be easily distracted on the road.
Music – This covers a broad base, and slightly overlaps the previous feature. Listening to your own music in your car is definitely a benefit, but it’s up to you to find the most appropriate and least distracting way to do so, whether it’s connecting a phone via AUX cable or Bluetooth, or if you’re old fashioned, playing CDs and Tapes. Some vehicles also offer XM Satellite radio and other internet-based music streaming services, but all come at a monthly subscription cost.
Wi-Fi – Many newer cars offer Wi-Fi hotspot capability, but again, at a subscription cost. If you have passengers that need internet access or frequently work remotely and need a connection you can pull over and use quickly, this can be a lifesaver.
At the end of the day, you will pay more for a vehicle that can keep you safer on the road. All of the above features come at a cost, so it’s important to think about what is most important, most practical, and most cost-effective when contextualized by your own driving skills. Get to know your needs as a driver just as well as your entertainment needs!