Every year, car manufacturers roll out new vehicles that include advanced family car safety features and innovative technology. With so many options, it might seem overwhelming to find the right car for you and your family.
From trucks and SUVs to two-seaters and convertibles, your preferences often change as you adapt to personal and professional milestones. A dealership can sometimes feel intimidating, especially if you’re not sure what you need. While car salesmen might be able to assist, it helps to know what you want before you arrive.
Though a sports car might not be the most practical choice when starting a family, you don’t have to compromise on cool features and visual appeal. However, when it comes to finding a vehicle for years of road trips, carpools and sports games, safety should be a top priority.
What to Look for in a Family Car
Between schooldays, sports events, recitals and family gatherings, a lot of time is spent in the car. Before you head to the dealership, however, figure out your needs and lifestyle.
Are you expecting your first child? If so, perhaps you’ll want a vehicle with extra room for a car seat. If you already have a child or two, perhaps you should consider a larger SUV that can cater to multiple passengers and supplies.
Once you determine how you want to get from A to B, consider making a checklist of must-haves for a family car. These might include:
- Trunk space
- Entertainment features
- Safety ratings and components
Then look into what you feel are the most important safety features you want in that family car.
Choosing the Right Safety Features
When it comes to security, certain features may tip the scale for which car you drive off the lot. Since many car accidents could be avoided with responsible driving practices, it might not hurt to have a few extra technical components that can help keep you focused and protected. Below are some safety features to keep in mind when car shopping.
Automatic Emergency Braking
A vehicle with an automatic emergency braking system is able to sense a potential collision and react quickly, automatically hitting the brakes to avoid a severe impact. This feature may come in handy in several scenarios, such as when traveling in the city, on the highway or while in reverse.
Lane Departure Warning
In the event of a distraction, the vehicle will alert you if it crosses lane markers or swerves too close to another vehicle. It monitors your position on the road in case you start to drift. It can also be switched off if lines are not detected. This safety tech is especially helpful for those long trips, when you run the risk of experiencing highway hypnosis or drowsy driving.
Speaking of keeping children safe in the car, download our report: Common Car Seat Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Blind Spot Detection
Failing to check your blind spot is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Though you might glance in the side mirrors to change lanes, a blind spot monitor can let you know if someone is just out of sight. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, this feature may include sound and lights on the door mirrors.
The two primary purposes of a rear-view camera are to give the driver a glimpse of what’s behind the car at any given time and to prevent children from being hit by mistake. If you live in a busy neighborhood or participate in a carpool, a rear-view camera as a family car safety feature is a no-brainer. Some models even have 360-degree cameras that show the area surrounding your car, which could be helpful for tight parking spots.
Forward Collision Warning
Speeding and tailgating are other common issue on the road, leading to numerous head-on collisions and fender benders. With automatic forward collision warning, your vehicle emits an alarm if you are getting too close to or moving toward an object too quickly.
Whether taking the kids to school or leaving the parking lot after an event, you might not see every person who walks in your path. With pedestrian detection, the vehicle can warn you if there is someone nearby.
Airbags and Restraints
A standard feature, airbags should not be overlooked. Having side-impact, side curtain and frontal airbags ensures that you’re covered from every angle. Likewise, seat belts are a given — but you might consider researching child travel vests, to prevent young kids from undoing their restraints by accident.
Though family-safe vehicles have come a long way since airbags and child locks, it’s helpful to know the new family car safety features available. By making safety a priority for your next family car, you could lower the risk of road injuries and fatalities. Buying a car is a big decision, but new standards can help keep you safe on the road.
Guest post: Melissa Walter is the Regional Service Manager for JDBNOW, a buy here pay here dealership. She has more than 10 years running the franchise’s service departments and making sure vehicles meet our JDBNOW Quality Standards through rigorous inspection and reconditioning.
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