Top 10 car gadgets and safety features

5 minute read

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Want to enjoy the freedom of car ownership later in life? Here are 10 of the best safety features and gadgets to give you confidence on the move

The number of over-70s renewing their driving licences rose by 200,000 last year. That means more people than ever are embracing the freedom of the open road later in life.

As automotive technology advances, new features can bring extra reassurance for drivers who may benefit from additional support. Here are 10 of the best car safety features and gadgets to help you enjoy worry-free motoring.

The first section of the article below explains some features you can request when buying a vehicle brand new, and the second suggests items you can add to cars of any age. The third section covers smaller items that make car travel easier for you and your passengers.

 

New car gadgets and features

Electric power

Electric propulsion is a game changer. Greener, easier to drive and potentially cheaper to run than conventional petrol or diesel cars, electric vehicles are ideal for short journeys – and increasingly long ones too. Cars like the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are good value and an especially good option if environmental sustainability is close to your heart.

 

Driver assistance

With driver assistance technology engaged, cars like the Volvo XC40 maintain a steady speed and constant distance from the vehicle in front. They also help your vehicle stay in its lane by detecting the white lines. As a result, you may find driving safer and less tiring.

 

Adaptive headlights

These headlights are capable of rotating with the vehicle. This makes them a boon on twisty roads or country lanes, as they light up more of the part of the road surface that you need to see as you drive. They also control high beams without any input from the driver. A great way to ensure you don’t dazzle other drivers at night.

 

Blind-spot detection

Great if you have a stiff neck, this technology monitors the road beside you and gives a visual warning if there’s a vehicle in your way. If you start to manoeuvre, it’ll sound an alarm – helping to minimise the risk of a collision.

 

Park assist

Parking in a tight spot is no one’s idea of fun – especially if it’s painful to swivel your head. Park assist does the work for you. Take your hands off the wheel and gently depress the accelerator. The car plots the perfect path into your space.

 

Retrofit options if buying used or upgrading your existing car

Reversing camera or parking sensors

If your car doesn’t come with the full park assist package, a reversing camera or parking sensors are worth having. They’ll help you judge the distance available, without needing to be a contortionist to get a decent view. Some cars have them as standard, but they’re an easy install for a mechanic. Worth enquiring about if you’re buying used, or want to upgrade your current vehicle.

 

Infotainment – entertainment and information on the move

Satellite navigation. Audiobooks and music. Digital radio. Even the weather forecast and news. You can have it all at your fingertips with a decent infotainment system: like a car stereo, but capable of so much more. Most also let you use a mobile phone hands-free – ensuring your attention is firmly on the road. There’s an option for most budgets, all of which can be fitted by your local dealer or a retailer like Halfords.

 

Keep on moving with mobility driving aids

Car cane

A car cane slots into the metal catch in the door frame and gives you something to hold onto while getting in and out. They’re roughly the size of a bike handlebar grip, so can be stored in the glovebox.

 

Seatbelt assistance

Sometimes it’s the simple things. A seat belt buckle holder makes it easier to locate the buckle when clicking in. Likewise, a seat belt reacher wraps around the belt itself, giving a convenient handle to grab when pulling it across your shoulder.

 

Easy turn steering wheel knob

Even with the lightest power steering, it can be hard work to spin your car’s wheel. With an easy-to-grip knob attached to the steering wheel, you can find making manoeuvres safer and more comfortable.

Whatever your needs, there are plenty of options to keep you safe and confident while driving. Whether you’re buying new or used, or upgrading your car, these gadgets, safety features and mobility aids will help you make the most of your independence.

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