Car Industry

Ford's new safety systems can steer you away from trouble -- and traffic jams

This is part of Ford's promise to triple its investment in tech to assist drivers.

This system sure beats accidentally knocking over an elderly person's cart full of groceries. Ask me how I know.

Ford

Considering just how bad some drivers on the road can be, it never hurts to have some extra help behind the wheel. Ford's determined to provide that help with a number of new active and passive safety systems.

Its new rear cross-traffic alert will automatically brake if a driver doesn't notice something passing behind the car. Speaking of parking, Ford also ramped up the abilities of its active park assist, which can park the car on its own in both perpendicular and parallel spaces.

Another new system is Evasive Steering Assist. Whether at city or highway speeds, radar and cameras can detect moving or stationary vehicles and, if necessary, provide steering assistance to help ensure a last-minute swerve without vehicle damage. It will also brake the car in case there's no room to maneuver.

One technology that's pretty neat, even if I never really realized we needed it, is Wrong-Way Alert. Using the navigation system and a forward-facing camera, it can detect when you've driven past two wrong-way signs and will provide audio and visual warnings to get you back on the right path.

There's a whole bunch more, too. A new adaptive lighting system widens the headlight beam at intersections and in curves. Traffic Jam Assist acts as a semi-autonomous driving system, keeping pace with traffic and positioning the car in the center of the lane. Ford might not be the first company to debut many (or any) of these systems, but a little extra reassurance never hurts.