Happy mother looking at daughter through window while someone else drives.

Automated Car Technology That Can Make You Safer

Updated October 21, 2019 . AmFam Team

From helping you stay in your lane to ensuring you maintain an appropriate following distance, automated and connected car technology can reduce accidents and keep you safer on the road. But with new technologies emerging every day, it can be tough to keep track of all the features available. We understand, and we’re here to help! Whether you’re considering purchasing a new car or simply looking to add technological enhancements to an older vehicle, we’ll walk you through some of the key options.

Automated car system on dashboard.

Automated Vehicle Systems Can Help Keep You Safe

Stay One Step Ahead of a Collision

Everyone can benefit from an extra set of eyes on the road, which is why collision avoidance systems are super for safety-savvy drivers like you. Utilizing lasers, radar or cameras to track objects in the car’s trajectory, the system will alert you to potential problems on the road around you. It can even keep track of your blind spot, and some systems actually apply the break should you react slowly. Best of all, you don’t have to buy a new vehicle to enjoy the benefits of collision avoidance technology — for just a few hundred dollars, you can install an aftermarket blind spot monitoring system that works with dashboard cameras.

Check with your car manufacturer for safe systems that are compatible with your car. Depending on your car policy, your insurance rates may be affected by adding safety features like these, too.

Cars driving on an open road in the early evening.

Always Drive Within the Lines

When roads are particularly narrow and your car is large, it can be tricky to gauge the vehicle's exact position on the road. Lane-departure technologies are here to help. Using cameras or sensors, the systems monitor a vehicle’s position on the road and alert the driver via a beep, blinking light or vibration when their tires cross outside the lane markers. Lane-keep assistance, meanwhile, actually prevents vehicles from crossing the lines, taking the wheel when the car begins to drift into another lane. While there are aftermarket systems for lane-departure warnings, updating your car to include lane-keeping assistance carries a price tag that may be prohibitively high — around $10,000.

Stranded person leaning against her vehicle while looking at her phone. 

Drive Safer with Smartphone Apps

Want to become a safer driver and have fun while improving your driving skills? There are several cool smartphone apps on the market that can monitor your driving habits, such as speeding, quick acceleration and abrupt braking, and will assign scores that challenge you to become a safer, smarter driver. It's a neat, game-like experience that improves how you drive. For instance, our KnowYourDrive program uses smart technology like this and may even reward you with car insurance discounts based on how safely you drive.

Cars stuck in stopped traffic. 

Maintain a Safe Distance

If you’re a fan of cruise control, this next feature is for you. Adaptive cruise control improves upon the standard version by using lasers and radar to slow your vehicle down if you get too close to the car in front of you. Keep in mind that this feature is built into the car and can't be added on with an aftermarket system. And like standard cruise control, it also doesn’t work in start/stop traffic.

Cars driving on an open road in the early evening.

Upgrade Your Headlights

These days, even our headlights are smarter. Adaptive headlights use sensors to turn along with the car and illuminate objects, animals and pedestrians that suddenly appear in your path, providing drivers not only increased visibility, but also more time to react.

Happy family going for a drive on a sunny day.

By taking advantage of these automated and connected car features, you and your loved ones will be on the cutting edge of a cooler, safer driving experience on the roads ahead.

This article is for informational purposes only and based on information that is widely available.

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