Safety,Technology | January 17 2024

Hands-free Winter Driving Features That Help Keep You Safe

Picture this… 

It’s the late 1880s and the very first motor car rolls past you and your horse drawn carriage, fully equipped with three wheels… and no windshield.  

The weather is unpredictable, and when roads ice over and snow flurries are so heavy you can’t see 10 feet in front of you, think of where you’d be if this was the late 1880s and you had no windshield wiper blades let alone no windshield!  

No need to worry though! Advancements in the automobile have brought along some very useful features to navigate busy streets and get our families from point A to point B safely and efficiently. Even more so, the auto industry has worked to make these features automated, so that they’re working to help keep you safe, without the distraction of buttons to push or switches to toggle on and off. 

So, breathe a sigh of relief, turn on your heated seats, and check out this list of some of our best inclement weather features that help keep you safe, effortlessly and automatically.  

  • Anti-lock brake system (ABS): Senses and helps prevent wheel lockup, offering improved steering control under extreme braking and/or slippery conditions. 

Features such as anti-lock brake systems first appeared back in the 1960s but didn’t become standard until the 1990s. In today’s world, your ABS works together with your vehicle to help it stay its course with improved steering control when sudden braking may be needed. ABS has been a game-changer for winter driving and the technology puts in the work all on its own.  

We know it’s not always clear skies and smooth sailing when inclement weather hits, so we’ve equipped our vehicles with several technologies that help aid you in predicting and thus avoiding accidents. 

  • Blind-spot Monitoring (BSM): Uses radar sensors to aid driver when changing lanes, passing or being passed; blind-spot vehicle presence noted via illuminated icons in side-view mirrors and driver-selectable audible chime. 
  • Lane Departure Warning-Plus with Lane Keep Assist: Alerts and assists driver; leverages electric power steering (EPS) to deliver subtle steering-wheel input when system detects need for course correction.
  • Hands-free Active Driving Assist: Offers hands-free driving and lane-centering at all speeds on approved roadways; system also will predictively slow down vehicle in tight curves, automatically resume control after driver overrides and verify that the driver is paying attention to road. 
  • Pedestrian/Cyclist Automatic Emergency Braking: If system detects pedestrian or cyclist and determines a frontal collision appears imminent, it will – if driver does respond accordingly – activate the vehicles brakes; in certain conditions, the system is capable of bringing the vehicle to a stop.

If ABS was a game-changer over half a century ago, features like Blind-spot Monitoring and Hands-free Active Driving Assist are the game-changers of today. Ready to come to your aid by triggering sensors throughout your vehicle to engage assistance when needed to alert you of potential collisions and help to keep you in your lane. 

We all know the importance of our headlights and the role they play when the weather isn’t clear. With the adaptation of this important feature, we now have: 

  • LED headlamps  
  • LED daytime running headlamps  
  • LED fog lamps  
  • LED taillamps 
  • Auto high-beam headlamp control system  

The great part is that it can all be automated, so that your car senses when you need your lights and if your high beams are needed. Not only can they sense when to turn on and off, but the auto high-beams control senses the light surrounding you, including that of other vehicles, and can turn them on and off at the appropriate time to help avoid distracting other drivers.

Windshield wiper blades, such a small but mighty feature for handling wet climates, were not always standard. The technology behind something as simple as windshield wiper blades has made it easier to ensure that your visibility is as clear as it can be. We’ve stepped up the wiper game to the next level with added features: 

  • Heated windshield washer nozzles and windshield wiper deicer: Helps ensure nozzles and wiper blades stay free of ice and snow during freezing conditions. 
  • Rain-sensing wipers: A driver convenience feature that automatically senses moisture on the windshield and activates wipers. 

We’ve listed some of the most important vehicle features that track and help control what’s going on outside of your vehicle. Now, let’s talk about some interior features that really help make your inclement weather driving as comfortable as can be.  

  • Automatic temperature control  
  • Dual-zone automatic temperature controls 

Exactly what it sounds like, automatic temperature control is convenient and hands-free. Available on several of our vehicles, you simply decide what you want the temperature to be inside your vehicle, and its heating and cooling system adapts to keep you at that temperature. 

Another vehicle feature to help control your cabin’s climate is dual-zone automatic temperature controls. This allows separate temperatures to be set for the front passengers and back passengers, so that everyone is comfortable. 

If you’ve ever felt what cold leather seats feel like when you’re already freezing from frigid weather, you know it’s not an enjoyable experience. This is where our next feature comes in clutch: 

  • Heated seats 
  • Heated steering wheel 

Heated seats and steering wheel are one of the best add-ons you can get. And since we’re talking about features that work automatically, without you needing to push buttons, these can be too. You can set your vehicle up to turn on your heated seat and steering wheel when you start your vehicle, whether you’re jumping in to head somewhere, or automatically starting it from inside your warm house, drivers can determine whether they want their heated seats and steering wheel to turn on at start-up when the temperature outside is under a certain degree. This makes those early morning commutes much more comfortable! 

And last but not least, for our interior tech features that support you in your winter driving is our Head-up Display. 

  • Head-up Display (HUD): Provides driver with up to five different areas of interest, including Lane Departure, Lane Keep Assist, adaptive cruise control, turn-by-turn navigation, current speed, current gear and speed limit; features full-color display. 

The HUD integrates several of our safe-driving features, including some that we mentioned above, and overall stands out as an encompassing piece of tech that keeps you aware of surroundings without taking your eyes off the road. This includes displaying your navigation directions, speed limit and other important information right on your windshield. 

It’s true, vehicle technology has come a long way since the first wiper blade-less car hit the streets, and we continue to integrate new, useful features into our lineup. Just imagine what we’ll come up with next! 

Heather Shovein

From television production to corporate communications, I've run the gamut when it comes to creative storytelling. I have a passion for writing, photography and video work, and there's nothing I love more than combining my passions to create the perfect message, delivered in the most engaging and resonating way. A
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From television production to corporate communications, I've run the gamut when it comes to creative storytelling. I have a passion for writing, photography and video work, and there's nothing I love more than combining my passions to create the perfect message, delivered in the most engaging and resonating way. A storyteller at heart, I love following Stellantis and our portfolio of brands in North America and digging deep to find the fascinating stories behind the stories.