Driver aids: ABS, park assist, rear-view camera and hill-start assist

The complexity of our vehicles has come a long way since the first publicly available automobile rolled off the production line, with new features and gimmicks released each year. Do these new automotive gadgets actually work and are they worth the price tag? Read on to find out.

driver aids

Everyone’s looking to save a little extra money these days, from holding on to older cars longer to finding places to buy cheap car parts. So when the time finally comes to replace your old clunker, it can be difficult to justify the price tag of some of the new optional systems. How useful they will be to you and whether their utility justifies their cost will depend on your preferences and driving experience thanks to driver aids.

Anti-lock braking system

Standard on almost every contemporary vehicle, anti-lock brakes use sophisticated sensors and pumping systems to monitor the rate of wheel rotation and deceleration. In this way, a car with ABS can sense when its wheels are locking up, and momentarily reduce braking pressure in order to keep the wheels spinning. Preventing your wheels from locking up provides a driver with two main advantages over standard locking brakes: spinning wheels provide greater friction and thus shorten your stopping distance, and also allow you to retain steering control while braking heavily.

Park assist

A relatively new innovation, park assist uses sensors along the car’s exterior to detect parking spaces of sufficient size to allow safe and automated parallel and perpendicular parking.park assistWhen the system is activated and detects a large enough space, the driver can stop the vehicle and allow it to automatically and flawlessly direct the car into the space. While perhaps superfluous to experienced drivers, this system may provide significant peace of mind to younger motorists or frequent city commuters.

Rear-view camera

No matter how observant you are, nearly every car has a blind spot, and obstacles always seem to find a way to sit right in the middle of it. Rear-view cameras help alleviate these troublesome truths by providing a driver with a third vantage point. For some drivers, a rear-view camera may eventually pay for itself, helping you to avoid collisions with other cars, pedestrians and other obstacles, but for more experienced motorists, the system may simply be unnecessary.

Hill-start assist

Perhaps the easiest way to find yourself buying cheap replacement car parts is to combine an inexperienced driver with a manual transmission vehicle on a steep hill. A rite of passage for any stick-shift aficionado, the hill start can be one of the most difficult and stressful situations for a young driver to find themselves in. Hill-start assist alleviates this pressure, using sensors to detect when the car is rolling backwards and automatically applying the brakes until engine acceleration takes over. A very useful system if you’re thinking of teaching your kids to drive a manual car.

hill-start assist

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