What Safety Features Should Be Standard in 2022?

Backup cameras used to be a luxury on cars that you often had to spend extra money on higher trim levels to obtain, but they became so essential to driving safety that a federal mandate made them a requirement on all vehicles. As technology continues to advance, our cars become smarter and more capable of helping us drive as safely as possible, and it stands to reason that the most important safety features should become standard rather than add-on features.

Is automatic emergency braking standard in most cars?

Dashboard of a newer VW vehicle equipped with several standard safety features
Dashboard of a newer VW vehicle equipped with several standard safety features | Sjoerd van der Wal, Getty Images

To many drivers, automatic emergency braking can take a bit of getting used to — as in, we aren’t used to our cars being able to control the gas or brakes, and certainly not slam on the brakes in case of emergency. Automatic emergency braking is an active safety feature that has become more and more popular in modern cars, but it isn’t yet a standard feature on every vehicle, meaning you have to see if the specific trim level you want for each vehicle offers. Even the most attentive driver cannot compete with the speed at which the car’s sensors respond in case of a potential accident, potentially saving you from rear-ending the car in front of you.

Blind-spot monitoring

Blind-spot monitoring is another feature that takes some time to get used to, but once you’ve had a vehicle with this safety feature, it can be a bit stressful to go without it. Blind-spot monitoring allows drivers to confidently and safely change lanes because it alerts us to vehicles or obstacles in our blind spot. Blind spots are problematic for many older cars, including sports cars and convertibles, and blind-spot monitoring not only enhances the driving experience but also makes the road safer for everyone overall.

Why do safety features become a standard requirement?

There are several standard safety features that are already standard among all newly manufactured vehicles, even if they weren’t always a requirement. This includes many basic safety features that we oftentimes take for granted, such as seat belts and airbags, which aren’t as common or available on many older, classic cars. These features were once add-ons to many cars and weren’t requirements for newly manufactured vehicles at some point, but the NHTSA and manufacturers agreed that these safety features were so essential to public safety and road safety that making them standard was both essential and responsible.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it will require all vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it will require all vehicles under 10,000 pounds manufactured on or after May 1, 2018 to have backup cameras | Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

So, it makes sense that as cars become even safer through technological advancements, the most important ones, such as automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, are standard rather than an add-on that costs extra. This isn’t unheard of with modern technology, either, such as rearview cameras, which were once a luxury in some cars but were deemed so valuable that they became federally mandated to be installed in all newly manufactured vehicles.

Only time will tell whether these safety features will truly become standard among new vehicles, but it isn’t an impossibility, either, as even more modern tech has made its way into the requirements on new vehicles. By doing this, the NHTSA and manufacturers make it clear that safety is of the utmost importance, not only for drivers but for passengers, bikers, pedestrians, and anything else you may find on the road.

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