I had a vehicle a few years ago that had lane avoidance technology. If the car starts to veer out of its lane without the blinker being on, the car warns you. The use of the blinker tells the car you intend to be out of your lane; otherwise it assumes you are not paying attention. I loved this feature and it taught me I did not use my blinker to signal a lane change nearly often enough.
For me, remote-start systems may be one of the greatest technologies of all time for your auto. While this is not new, it has just been the last couple of years that they have really gotten it right. When it is hot or cold outside, there is nothing better than starting your car from the house a couple of minutes before you leave.
Bluetooth technology for hands-free use of your cell phone is not only handy, but makes driving safer. Many states, including California have banned cell phone use unless it is hands-free. Bluetooth has also been much improved over the past couple of years. The new system makes it hard to even tell you are hands-free. The echo has pretty much been eliminated and most systems cut your radio off automatically when a call is received or made.
Ford has one of the best Bluetooth systems I have experienced. As part of their Sync system, not only do you get the Bluetooth, but the system will give you real-time sports scores, nearby gas stations with their price at the pump, and even movie theater information including times. A few years ago, I would have never believed this would be a possibility in a car.
Another item gaining popularity is the rear cameras to assist you when backing up. I can tell you from personal experience that this has saved me more than once. For coming out of your driveway, especially in a vehicle that sits up high, this has literally saved the lives of children. Rear view cameras are becoming mainstream and are a low cost option on many of the newer vehicles. When you couple this with reverse sensing systems, also available on a plenty of models, then a rear view camera becomes a very effective safety tool.
These are some of the newer features that are available. Many are on cars that are not classified as “luxury” cars. Today, you can buy a vehicle that will parallel park itself, or that will allow you to see side-to-side when backing blindly. There are vehicles that have cup holders that will keep your drink hot OR cold. And of course, air conditioned seats are becoming quite the rage.
It is an exciting time for creature comforts as well as new safety features. It makes me wonder what will be available a year from now. George Jetson would be proud.
Jerry Reynolds is the Host of The CarGuy Show heard Saturdays on WBAP 820 AM and 96.7 FM. A nationally syndicated radio show also airs Los Angles, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Jerry is a member of the Texas Auto writers Association and is the former Owner of a large chain of automobile dealerships. Jerry can be contacted at www.carguyshow.com