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New features that improve car safety

Five modern safety features in cars can help prevent accidents.

Every year, vehicle manufacturers research, design, and develop strategies to help make vehicles better - and safer. Take a look at five new vehicle safety features to consider when you're in the market for a new car.

1. Adaptive Headlights

It can be difficult to see on dark, curved roads. This can increase the likelihood of a crash. Using information such as steering wheel movement and vehicle speed, adaptive headlights are able to pivot in the direction you're traveling, helping you see the road ahead.

2. Blind Spot Monitoring/Blind Spot Detection

When you're driving, vehicles behind or beside you are sometimes hidden in what's called a "blind spot." This can lead to a collision if you try to turn or change lanes. Blind spot monitoring systems visually alert you when a vehicle is traveling in your blind spot. Those alerts become brighter or louder if you signal to change lanes. Some systems even activate the brakes or steering controls to prevent a crash.

3. Front Crash Prevention

Front crash prevention systems use forward-facing sensors to monitor distance and relative speed between vehicles. If the system senses an impending crash, it will alert you with sound, visual cues or physical sensations such as a vibration of the steering wheel. If you don't respond, some systems make adjustments to lessen the crash impact, or automatically brake the vehicle to prevent it.

4. Lane Departure Prevention

A lane departure system, which often uses a camera near the rearview mirror, keeps track of your vehicle's position in a lane. Any movement to leave the lane unintentionally, including merging without signaling, creates an alert-a sound, steering wheel or seat vibration, and visual cues on the dashboard. Some systems also use light steering or braking to correct a lane departure.

5. Park Assist and Backover Protection

One or both of these systems may soon be required in most new vehicles. They help drivers avoid collisions when parking or reversing, using sensors in cameras to alert you of objects behind your vehicle. Some backover protection systems may automatically brake to avoid collisions.

Remember: While all of these vehicle safety features are designed to help prevent a crash, they don't replace safe driving. Always wear your seatbelt, avoid driving while distracted and pay attention to what other drivers are doing on the road.

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