In November 2015, Forbes did a piece on the most-wanted new-car features by drivers. As you can imagine, the list of 15 included everything from heated seats and windscreens to augmented reality. Oh, and don’t forget about the subwoofer in the trunk as well as the TV sets in the headrests. As you may realize being a petrol head, drivers don’t always want features that are useful. Sure, watching TV on the road is handy in some circumstances, but it doesn’t help you to drive. If anything, it makes it harder.
Being the curious type, you may be wondering out loud which items had any merit whatsoever. And, you’d be right too because car prices and purchases are impacted by perception. An advanced paint job is muy bien but being able to resist dirt shouldn’t cost a fortune. Alas, it’s the society we live in today. Que terrible!
However, there is an exit strategy for those of you who want modern without paying over the odds. It’s simple, in all honesty – figure out which gadgets are worth the extra. Of the 15 on the Forbes list, here are the ones that aren’t just novelty.
Built In Navigation System
Also known as a sat nav system, more than 60% of the people polled said they wanted one in their vehicle. On the list, it made it into the top 6, missing out on the top five spot by 3%. So, it’s an important feature for modern-day car owners, and there is a good reason. For starters, it helps get one from A to B without getting lost by the side of a road. Gone are the days when drivers had to pull over and consult a map. Younger readers should thank the heavens that they never had to go through the ordeal. Plus, once connected to the internet the sat nav downloads current information so that it’s never wrong. But, what about using a phone with Google Maps? What’s the difference? The difference is in the term “inbuilt.” By setting the destination before leaving, there is no need to mess with the system during the journey. And, if there is, it’s easier to check without taking your eyes off the road. In short, it’s a safety feature as well as journey planner.
Energy-Absorbing Car Seats
Hang on a minute – do these exist?! According to studies, not only are they real but they’re successful too. A JARI test found that these seats had various benefits, from posture to head protection. Without a doubt, the main advantage though is the seat’s ability to reduce whiplash. Car crashes and whiplash claims are two reasons why motorists have to keep a lawyer on retainer. And, sure, maybe you win the case and there is a nice amount in the pot. But, there is the cost versus reward principle to consider. How much money is worth harming your body? The answer is hardly any, especially if there are others in the car. Seen as whiplash is health-threatening, energy-absorbing seats are alternatives for the safety-conscious.
Blind Spot Monitor
If you have ever been in a car with a blind spot monitor, you’ll have realized. To watch where the driver can’t, the software in the vehicle beeps loudly when an object is close-by. Now, we’ll get into the benefits in a moment, but there are negatives to consider. The main one is the constant screeching when there is no present danger. Try and park in close quarters, a car park for example, and you’ll soon understand. Venting this frustration aside, the pros do outweigh the cons because blind spots are, well, they’re difficult to see! So, hearing the beep is an excellent reminder to slow down and be cautious as there’s a chance a car or pedestrian is near and you can’t see. For a compromise, turn the beeping off and change it to something less annoying like vibration. Even if this isn’t an option, the blind spot system is worth the hassle with 65% of drivers saying they needed one. Be careful not to take it for granted in other cars. If you don’t have a blind spot monitor, it’s more likely that you will experience some sort of incident on the roads and could find yourself in need of an auto accident attorney. At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Backup Collision Intervention
The name pretty much says it all but let’s go into more detail. The way it works is simple – as you reserve, the system checks for potential collisions. If something comes into its arc, it eases off the accelerator without asking permission. Then, if you continue on your merry way, it applies the brakes. Now, both of these things can’t stop a crash from happening. As the driver, you’ll be able to override the software by pressing down harder on the gas pedal. The BCI is designed to give you extra time to spot dangers and react. Considering 15,000 people are injured by vehicles backing up, it’s a very important feature. The 267 individuals who died in 2016 as a result of reversing cars may explain why it makes the top 10 with 59% of the vote. A rearview camera didn’t make the list, but it’s another option. In fact, it negates blind spots too so it kills two birds with one stone.
Voice Activation/Streaming Capabilities
These two separate features come in at 13 and 14 respectively on the list. They are inextricably linked, though, which is why we are going to treat them as the same. Cell phones while driving are now banned because they cause distractions. Before the ban, the figures weren’t as bad as you may expect. In 2008, the number was above 30,000, at approximately 37,200. It’s a significant amount of people, enough to ban the use of phones and mobile devices while driving. But, the problem hasn’t gone away as the figures suggest. Traffic fatalities have risen by 14% in the last two years while smartphone ownership is now at 80%. The pattern isn’t a coincidence. Using a device while driving leads to accidents, and both voice activation and streaming reduce the likelihood. By being able to tap an icon on the steering wheel, there is no need to lose concentration.
Why don’t you take a look at the list and decide for yourself? How many are vital and how many are cosmetic?
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