As you may have noticed, today’s new cars are loaded with new safety technology, which promises to not only help us survive a crash – but also prevent crashes! But how much of this stuff is worth the extra cost? Here’s what you need to know, according to Dan Edmunds, the director of vehicle testing for Edmunds.com:

Safety feature #1: Adaptive cruise control. That’s a new system that uses radar technology to track the vehicle driving ahead of you. Then, it automatically adjusts your speed to maintain a safe distance – without you ever needing to tap the gas or brakes. Edmunds says adaptive cruise control is worth buying if you do a lot of highway driving, but it’s not ideal for driving in heavy traffic. That’s because the system’s designed for a long “following distance”.  And on crowded highways, it’ll slow you down so much that other cars will continually pull in front of you – which Edmunds says is both annoying and fuel-inefficient!

Another new car safety feature: Adaptive headlights. That’s a system that turns your car’s headlights slightly any time you move the steering wheel, or engage a turn signal.  Edmunds says adaptive headlights can be useful for nighttime driving on curvy roads.  But you can generally get the same results – for less money - by installing high-intensity bulbs in your headlights instead!

One more new car safety feature: Night vision. You’ve probably seen the ads where cars use an infrared camera to display images of the road ahead onto a dashboard screen. But know this: Edmunds says you’re always safer keeping your eyes on the road, not a display screen! So, don’t bother paying extra for night vision.