Welcome back to another installment of “What does that button do?” Today I’ll be going over the just some of the buttons that have to do with the advanced safety system that may be equipped on your vehicle. These features are state-of-the-art and may be buttons you’ve never seen prior to test driving and taking your new car home. They may be located on the dash of your vehicle or steering wheel, if so equipped.
The “follow distance gap” button works in concert with your adaptive cruise control system. For example, if you are using the cruise control system to keep your speed at 55 mph, and the person in front of you is traveling at 45, the combination of sensors and cameras on the vehicle will see this and back your speed off to 45 mph as well until that person is no longer in front of you. This button allows you to control how closely you’d like to follow the person in front of you when the adaptive cruise control is functioning. When you press this button you’ll see a picture of a vehicle on the smaller screen in between your vehicle’s gauges. This car picture will be accompanied by 1, 2, or 3 bars. This represents your chosen follow distance: near, medium or far. The actual distance will vary based on how fast you’re going. The faster you’re driving, the longer each of these distances will be, to allow for an appropriate reaction time.
The button with the car and the lane lines controls your Lane Departure Warning system. The same forward facing camera that assists your adaptive cruise control also acts as the eyes for this system. The camera looks ahead and tries to see the line on the road. When it finds them, the vehicle will let you know if you’re drifting in and out of your lane with an alert of some kind. If you change lanes and use your turn signal, the system won’t yell at you. Some vehicles are also equipped with a Lane Keep Assist function that not only will alert you when you veering out of your lane, but it will nudge the wheel in an effort to keep you in your lane.
Automatic high beams is a fantastic new safety feature that does exactly what it sounds like, it turns your high beams on when there are no vehicles in front of you, and shuts them off when a vehicle is detected either as an oncoming position, or as tail lights appear for vehicles traveling in the same direction. This is not only a feature of convenience, it’s one of safety as well.
Knowing with these buttons do and how the safety technology works is incredibly important. Sometimes vehicle technology can be a distraction but when used correctly and in an informed manner it can be a tremendous tool for keeping you and your passenger safe on the roads.