What do my car’s safety features actually do?

By Kijiji Autos
What do my car’s safety features actually do?

With every passing year, safety systems in vehicles continue to become increasingly complex. New cars now come standard with a number of safety features that would have been considered premium add-ons only a few years prior. While some newly developed innovations are still optional—for the time being at least—today's automotive safety systems are much more robust compared to those from only 10 years ago.

The following list will highlight some safety technologies, both new and old, that you should be aware of if you’re looking to purchase a new or nearly new vehicle.

Anti-lock braking system (ABS)

Anti-lock brakes make it safe and simple to come to a quick stop while driving on a slippery surface. By preventing your car’s wheels from locking up while braking, ABS offers improved vehicle control and decreased stopping distance.

Adaptive cruise control (ACC)

Similar to regular cruise control, adaptive cruise control takes it one step further. In addition to setting and maintaining a maximum speed, ACC uses sensors and cameras to maintain a safe following distance between you and the vehicle ahead. It will automatically slow down your vehicle should it sense the need to.

Automatic emergency braking (AEB)

Should you find yourself in a precarious position, AEB will alert you of an imminent collision and help you use the maximum braking capacity of your car to avoid any harm. If you don’t react quickly enough, this advanced driver assistance system will automatically brake your car for you.


During a collision, your car will deploy its airbags to protect you and your passengers from bodily harm.

Blind-spot warning system (BSW)

By using cameras, radar and/or sensors, blind-spot warning systems detect vehicles you can’t see that are beside or behind your own. They pass this information to you through a visual and/or audible alert.

Driver drowsiness detection

Through a combination of sensors and technologies, such as steering monitoring, vehicle positioning, facial recognition and physiological assessments, driver drowsiness detection systems prevent accidents that occur when drivers become overtired or careless.

Electronic stability control system (ESC)

The electronic stability control system detects when your vehicle begins to lose traction, to prevent it from skidding or drifting. ESC becomes active whenever a motorist loses control of their vehicle to help drivers avoid collisions.

Forward collision warning (FCW)

By monitoring a vehicle’s speed, the speed of the vehicle in front of it, and the distance between the two, the forward collision warning system alerts the driver of a potential impending crash. Though, FCW won’t take control of the vehicle or apply the brakes.

Lane departure warning

Using a camera focused on the road’s lane markings, the lane departure warning system will notify the driver should they begin the drift or veer out of their own lane. Certain versions of this technology will even auto-correct the vehicle to keep it centred in its lane (sometimes known as lane-keep technology).

Night vision

Automotive night vision works by using a thermographic camera to increase a driver’s perception in low light or poor weather conditions. It can warn motorists of bicycles, pedestrians, animals and other vehicles on dark roads at night.

Rear-view camera

Rear-view cameras allow you to see into blind spots behind your vehicle while in reverse. This clear view can help prevent collisions and other accidents.


This simple safety feature was designed to secure the occupants of a vehicle against sudden stops and harmful movement from impacts and collisions.

Smart headlights

Often referred to as automatic high beams, smart headlights will automatically shift from high to regular light after sensing oncoming traffic.

If you’re looking for a new or nearly new car that’s packed with an array of safety features, then Kijiji Autos has you covered.

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