Do you know what safety features your car is equipped with?

Consumer Reports

TAMPA (WFLA) — Buying a car involves making big decisions; You have to find the right model, maybe get financing, and even pick the right color. But what about those advanced safety features that could save your life?

Confusion around the names of those systems and how they work only adds to what many shoppers say is an already unpleasant experience.

Do you know what safety features your car is equipped with? Some names may sound familiar, others not so much. And when you stack them up together advanced safety terminology can get downright confusing.

“The names of these features are all over the map right now. There’s a lot of confusion for owners of these vehicles that are trying to drive and use these systems as to what they do, what they don’t do, and even how to get them on their vehicle if they want them,” says Kelly Funkhouser with Consumer Reports.

Currently, 93-percent of new vehicles offer at least one advanced safety system, such as automatic emergency braking or blind spot warning.

But Triple A research shows that people may encounter as many as 20 different names for the same advanced safety feature. Take blind spot warnings for example: Honda calls their blind spot warning a ‘blind spot information system.’ Toyota calls theirs: ‘blind spot monitor.’ And on some GM models it’s called ‘lane change alert.’

“So if they were all called the same thing, then consumers would be able to understand what these technologies are doing and also be able to walk into a dealer and get a technology on their car that they want and be able to use it potentially for safety on the road,” Funkhouser said.

Here’s the good news: In January, the Department of Transportation endorsed Consumer Reports’ list of proposed standardized names. While this endorsement doesn’t mean that automakers will be forced to use the new names, you could see a shift in that direction.

“The next step of course is for all automakers to make these critical safety technologies standard across every vehicle that they make,” says David Friedman with Consumer Reports.

If you’re in the market for a new car, look for a vehicle with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and blind spot warning.

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