Vehicle safety upgrades you should splurge on

Nov 1, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. ET

Not sure what upgrades to get or pass on? Here are some vehicle safety upgrades you should splurge on.

Back-up camera in car

With vehicles becoming more technologically advanced, many car owners are faced with the choice of whether or not to upgrade several of the automobile's features. Experts say there are certain upgrades that are worth splurging on for your safety and that of your family.


Back-up cameras

No matter the season, back-up cameras are one of the most valuable safety upgrades, says Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director of Kelley Blue Book.

"If the back-up camera system is equipped with cross-traffic alert, all the better," he says. "Back-up cameras enable you as driver to see objects and people behind your vehicle in ways that are impossible using traditional rearview mirrors."

Nerad also says that a system equipped with cross-traffic alerts will warn you if a vehicle that's invisible to you, such as a car hidden by a parked SUV, is about to pass behind you as you back up.


Bridgestone Blizzak tires

When temperatures drop and driving conditions are at their worst, you want to feel confident that your tires will get you safely to your destination. The Bridgestone Blizzak tire is specially engineered with unique tread patterns, deeper tread depth and snow and ice technologies that will help you navigate through winter hazards.

The Multi-Cell compound also removes a thin layer of surface water to improve grip by using millions of microscopic pores, and it allows the tires to remain flexible in freezing temperatures.


Adaptive cruise control

Not your average cruise control, this type enables the vehicle to maintain an interval between itself and vehicles ahead of it.

"If the lead vehicle slows, the adaptive cruise control will sense that and slow your vehicle without you having to intervene," Nerad says.


Forward collision mitigation and prevention

If the adaptive cruise control system is equipped with collision mitigation, Nerad says the vehicle will also sense when a vehicle is stopped in front of it.

"Typically, it first triggers an alert," he says. "Then, if the driver doesn't heed the alert, it can brake and even stop your vehicle."

There are instances when even with this technology, a collision cannot be avoided — but typically, such crashes are far less violent than they would otherwise be, Nerad adds.


Blind-spot warning systems

These systems typically flash lights or trigger other alerts if you indicate you are about to change lanes and a vehicle currently occupies that lane or is rapidly approaching from behind in that lane, Nerad says.

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