What Are The Best Car Safety Features?

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AutoTrader NZ
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Published 4 June 2024

Buying a car? Safety is a big deal, especially with all the different driving conditions we have here in NZ. Whether you’re cruising through the city or navigating those twisty rural roads, having the right safety features in your car is key.

We dive deeper into the safety features and compare them to determine the best options.

1. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

ADAS encompasses a variety of technologies designed to enhance vehicle safety by reducing the likelihood of human error. Key components of ADAS include:

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

ACC maintains a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead by automatically adjusting the car’s speed. This feature is particularly useful on motorways, where traffic conditions can change rapidly.

Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)

LKA helps prevent unintentional lane departures by gently steering the car back into its lane if it detects drifting. This feature is invaluable on the country’s many winding roads.

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)

AEB detects imminent collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles and automatically applies the brakes if the driver doesn’t react in time. This feature can significantly reduce the severity of accidents or even prevent them altogether.

2. Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

ESC is a critical safety feature that helps maintain vehicle control during sudden maneuvers or slippery conditions. Given New Zealand’s varied weather, from heavy rain to icy roads, ESC can be a lifesaver by preventing skidding and loss of control.

3. Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)

BSM systems use sensors to detect vehicles in your blind spots and alert you through visual or audible signals. This feature is particularly useful in urban areas, where cyclists and motorbikes are common, and on narrow rural roads with limited visibility.

4. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)

RCTA assists when reversing out of parking spaces or driveways by detecting approaching traffic from the sides and warning the driver. In busy shopping centers or residential areas with many children, this feature can prevent potential accidents.

5. Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Maintaining proper tyre pressure is essential for vehicle stability and fuel efficiency. TPMS alerts drivers when tyre pressure is too low, reducing the risk of blowouts and improving overall safety. This feature is especially beneficial for long road trips.

6. Adaptive Headlights

Adaptive headlights improve nighttime visibility by adjusting the direction and intensity of the light beam based on the vehicle’s speed and steering angle. This is particularly useful on New Zealand’s rural roads, which are often poorly lit and can be home to wandering animals.

7. 360-Degree Camera Systems

A 360-degree camera system provides a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle’s surroundings, making parking and maneuvering in tight spaces easier and safer. This feature is invaluable in urban environments and crowded parking lots.

8. Pedestrian Detection

Pedestrian detection systems use cameras and sensors to identify pedestrians in or near the vehicle’s path. If a potential collision is detected, the system can alert the driver and apply the brakes automatically. This feature enhances safety in urban areas with high foot traffic.

9. Side-Impact Airbags

While front airbags are standard in most vehicles, side-impact airbags provide additional protection in the event of a side collision. These airbags protect the torso and pelvis of occupants, reducing the risk of severe injuries.

Safety FeatureDescriptionBenefit for New Zealand
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)Maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead by adjusting speed.Ideal for fluctuating motorway traffic conditions.
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)Helps prevent unintentional lane departures by steering the car back into its lane.Essential for winding rural roads.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)Detects imminent collisions and applies brakes if the driver doesn’t react.Reduces the severity of accidents or prevents them altogether.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)Maintains vehicle control during sudden maneuvers or slippery conditions.Critical for varied weather conditions like rain and ice.
Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)Detects vehicles in blind spots and alerts the driver.Useful in urban areas with cyclists and motorbikes, and narrow rural roads.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)Detects approaching traffic from the sides when reversing and warns the driver.Prevents accidents in busy shopping centers or residential areas.
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)Alerts drivers when tyre pressure is too low.Reduces risk of blowouts, essential for long road trips.
Adaptive HeadlightsAdjusts direction and intensity of light based on speed and steering angle.Improves visibility on poorly lit rural roads.
360-Degree Camera SystemsProvides a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle’s surroundings.Makes parking and maneuvering in tight spaces easier and safer.
Pedestrian DetectionIdentifies pedestrians in or near the vehicle’s path and can apply brakes automatically.Enhances safety in urban areas with high foot traffic.
Side-Impact AirbagsProvides additional protection in side collisions.Reduces risk of severe injuries in side-impact accidents.
Safety feature comparison chart

Conclusion:


When choosing a car, prioritise safety features for a better driving experience and enhanced safety. Advanced driver assistance systems and electronic stability control protect you and make roads safer. Stay updated on the latest safety features to make the best choice.