According to AAA , there is an estimated 54 Million Americans traveling for Thanksgiving this year. It’s a strong possibility that you’ll be spending some time in the car over the next few days, whether you’re sitting in traffic to get to Grandma’s house or hailing a ridesharing service to take you to the airport. You’ll have some time to think of all the many things you’re thankful for this year. Coincidentally, you should take a look at the car you’re in. Over the last few years, there have been many advancements to the automobiles we know and love. Below are a few of the modern enhancements that we should be thankful for.
1. Back up Camera
I’m sure many of us can remember a time, not too long ago, when parallel parking was a dreaded scenario. Even backing out of the drive way was a hassle, because no matter how far you turned around in your seat – performing some type of front seat yoga pose—you still couldn’t quite see everything. Many children’s mangled bikes, left carelessly in the driveway, were hard proof that being able to see the ground you’re driving on is crucial when reversing your vehicle. However, now you don’t even need to turn around. Simply look at the oversized infotainment screen – itself a major blessing – and see the real time image of the areas behind the car, making formerly difficult parking experiences simple and safe.
2. Automatic Braking
Now more than ever we have things to distract us from the road. Whether it’s a phone, tablet, digital billboard, or eating on the go we aren’t as good at keeping our focus on driving. Luckily for us, many auto manufacturers are implementing automatic braking to stop the car when the driver is slow to react. Every time you avoid a major front-end collision, you can bet that you’ll be thankful for the new safety feature.
3. Side Impact Curtain Air Bags
There once was a time when having an airbag in the steering wheel was all that you had to brag about. Then a passenger front airbag was added and though that was an improvement, the obvious lapse in consideration to other passengers or impacts from the side was impossible to ignore. Fortunately, these omissions have been taken into consideration. All passengers in the car, not just the front, can now benefit from side curtain airbags that offer protection from even the most dreaded of auto mobile accident situations.
4. Climate Control Features
Remember when you had to slide a lever from blue to red to adjust the heating and Air conditioning in your car? No? Well it was a thing. We’ve become so accustomed to turning a knob for a greater degree of accuracy in cabin temperature control that we often forget how bad it used to be. Even more impressive is the recent advancements on Climate Control features. Gone are the days where the back-seat passengers have to either sweat or freeze, as well. In new vehicles there is the ability to set the front and back seats at different temperatures that are digitally controlled. It’s now possible to set the temp to specific degree settings. Imagine all the dads out there panicking as they realize that there is a whole different thermostat for their kids to adjust.
5. Wi-Fi Mobile Hotspot Ability
Despite the possible distraction of the driver being a hazard, the ability to connect to the internet on the go is incredible. Add the ability to connect your kids’ tablets to the network and you’ve got hours of entertainment right at their fingertips. Say good bye to the endless interrogation of “Are we there, yet?” Being able to connect to email and integrate traffic navigating apps like Waze, makes the WIFI not just an entertainment feature, but a full-blown productivity enhancing function that is pivotal for those on the go. Even if all you use it for is to look up a stuffing recipe to compete with your in-law’s traditional dinner fare.
If you find yourself struggling to be thankful for when it comes to your car, maybe it’s time to think of getting a new one. This time of year, also happens to be a prime time to make use of the Black Friday deals that are offered by many dealerships. Consumer Reports compiled a list of the best deals to look for. You could very well find yourself thankful for a brand-new ride with all the features listed above.