Magazine article Newsweek

Technology: Safe Cars of the Future

Magazine article Newsweek

Technology: Safe Cars of the Future

Article excerpt

Byline: Tara Weingarten

When it comes to cars, Americans will gladly pay extra for premium sound systems and plush leather seats. But when offered additional safety features, buyers frequently opt to save a few bucks. Why spend $2,300 on a collision warning system when you could put the money into a rear-seat DVD player to entertain the kids?

Cyndi Robin used to think that way--until a pickup truck broadsided her and her 3-year-old granddaughter. Both passengers had to be pried out of the car by paramedics. Had Robin's 2004 Lexus RX330 not come equipped with an amusement park's worth of airbags, she's convinced they would have been gravely injured. Instead, they walked away without a scratch.

Certainly, safety technology can save lives once an accident occurs. And now a growing arsenal of safety features will help you avoid a crash in the first place. Here's a primer on the latest auto-safety technology.

BLIND-SPOT INFORMATION SYSTEM

Cameras mounted on each side mirror survey blind spots and alert the driver with a flashing light if a vehicle is in the blind zone. Available as a $500 option on some 2006 Volvo models. LANE-DEPARTURE WARNING SYSTEM

A rearview-mirror-mounted camera monitors lane markings. Veer across the lines and the car beeps a warning. Available on some Infiniti models, packaged with such extras as a 14-speaker Bose audio system for $5,900.

INTELLIGENT BRAKE ASSIST

IBA monitors traffic ahead of your vehicle. If a vehicle ahead stops suddenly, your car will beep and ask you to brake. …

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