5 vehicle features that new drivers should know

These five features will make driving much safer for novice motorists

Reuben Van Niekerk
new drivers
automatic gearbox
park distance control

It is a well reported fact that a large portion of car accidents are caused by inexperienced drivers. Learning to drive can be a daunting process for many people, with a lot of things to remember and remain in control of while navigating roads that are littered with reckless, inconsiderate drivers.


While it might still be a few years away, a few pieces of technology, that are available in most vehicles these days are sure to make things easier for new drivers. It is worth confirming if these features are present when shopping for a vehicle for a new driver.


1. Automatic gearbox

Mastering clutch control and smooth pull offs is often the trickiest part of learning to drive, but an automatic gearbox eliminates this and a large portion of the stress associated with learning to drive. Automatic gearboxes used to be reserved for more expensive models but can even be found on entry-level vehicles these days.


2. Park distance control

Via a series of sensors around the vehicle, park distance control makes parking easier by alerting you to the proximity of fixed objects via a series of beeps that get increasingly louder as you get closer to the object. Some systems display an image on the touchscreen simultaneously with green and red sections indicating how close you are to the object. More advanced systems will offer a camera view or even a 360 birds eye view that will allow even novice drivers to park in the tightest of spots.


3. Blind spot monitor

A blind sport monitor will alert the driver to the presence of a vehicle in their blind spot by way of a small light in the side mirrors. More advanced versions of this system take this one step further by audibly warning the driver about a vehicle in their blind spot as soon as they start changing lanes.


4. Auto hold

This system, normally found on vehicles fitted with an automatic gearbox, holds the brakes for a split second when pulling away on an incline, preventing the vehicle from embarrassingly rolling backwards.


5. ABS braking

A few years ago performing an emergency braking manoeuvre would see the front wheels lock up and the vehicle go sliding towards the hazard. The advent of ABS braking has made emergency braking much safer by automatically modulating the brakes in line with the grip levels. This ensures that the vehicle comes to a safe stop in the shortest distance possible no matter the surface conditions.


Fortunately, technology has slowly taken a lot of the stress and hassle out of driving and as the industry moves towards autonomous driving more of the driving functions will become automated.