Safety Features: what does it all mean?!

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Safety technology has evolved rapidly in the past few years to become much more driver-aware and automatic. But the features are often so automated that it’s hard to wade through what each technology actually does. Each manufacturer has different names for the same technologies making it difficult to compare across brands. We’re here to help.

Here’s everything you need to know about new available safety technologies found in many Kia vehicles – many of which, once you’re familiar with them are easy to identify in other vehicle brands too.

Many of these technologies build upon one another in a good, better, best pattern to provide the safest possible driving experience. The most basic technology (good) gives audible warnings. The advanced high-end technologies (best) available in upper models combine sensors and software to control, navigate, and drive/stop the vehicle in certain situations. These technologies start as audible warnings, and advance to automated assistance that will apply brakes and visual and/or vibration warnings.

Just remember, these technologies are not a substitute for safe, aware, attentive driving. Please drive safely. 

  • Hill Assist – Does anyone still remember your first time putting the car in first gear on a hill with a standard transmission? It’s the stuff of nightmares. You can thank automatic transmissions and Hill Assist for taking away much of the stress from the simple act of driving away. Hill Assist prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards by applying the brakes automatically for about 1.5 seconds. The brakes – and all your anxieties – are released when the accelerator pedal is depressed or after about 1.5 seconds.
  • Blind Spot Warning is your automatic shoulder check. We’ve all been there: someone obliviously setting up camp in your blind spot. Blind Spot Collision Warning offers prominent warnings – both audible and visual – to help warn of vehicles outside your field of view.
  • Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW). Under certain conditions, your car can detect vehicles traveling in the next lane. When a vehicle is detected in the blind spot, an icon flashes in the sideview mirror, and a chime will sound if the turn signal is on.
  • Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist. This technology builds on BCW. Not only does it give visual and audible warnings, it all can apply the brakes to the outer wheel under certain conditions to return the vehicle to its lane.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert is your second set of eyes in the parking lot or driveway. It uses the same vehicle sensors as the Rear-View Camera and Blind Spot Detection to detect approaching vehicles. The system is activated when you put your Kia model in reverse and monitors traffic crossing your path as you back up. If it senses an approaching vehicle, Rear Cross Traffic Alert provides both audible and visual alerts to warn the driver.
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist: Uses BCW technology to help detect approaching cross traffic when in reverse.  When approaching cross traffic is detected, the system alerts the driver and applies brakes.
  • Driver Attention Warning: Senses inattentive driving patterns and sends an audible/visual warning to alert the driver.
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection: This technology is designed to help in situations where the vehicle detects an imminent collision. It assists the driver in braking to help prevent a collision or lessen the effects in certain conditions if a vehicle or pedestrian is detected in front.

  • Highway Driving Assist: This is a bit like having your mother-in-law clutching her pearls in shotgun – we all know she means well, right? Highway Driving Assist uses federal highway speed limit information from the navigation system and, under certain conditions, will automatically adjust the speed to be within the posted speed limit and maintain distance with the vehicle detected in front.

Kia Forte5


  • Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS): Designed to alert the driver if the system detects that the vehicle is about to depart from its current lane without a turn signal.
  • Lane Keeping Assist System: Builds on LDWS by applying slight steering inputs in certain circumstances to help bring the vehicle back into the lane.
  • Lane Following Assist:  Builds on LKAS. Lane Following Assist follows lane markings that the system detects and provides steering inputs to help maintain the vehicle in the center of the lane.
  • Rear Occupant Alert: Designed to provide a message in the instrument cluster for the driver to “Check rear seats” in order to help prevent leaving the vehicle with a rear passenger left inside; the message appears when the driver door is opened after a rear passenger door has been opened and closed. Peace of mind for busy families on the go. We all need a reminder sometimes.
  • Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go: This technology makes roadtrips an absolute dream. This technology is designed to adapt to the driving environment by automatically applying the brakes, or accelerator, to help maintain a predetermined distance from a vehicle it detects in front. To use Smart Cruise Control, simply set your maximum desired speed and your desired minimum distance from the vehicle ahead of you – the vehicle will do the rest. Smart Cruise can bring your vehicle to a full stop and resumes when traffic resumes within three seconds of stopping.
  • Safe Exist Assist: This technology will alert the driver or passengers opening their door not to exit the vehicle when the system detects approaching traffic. When detected, a chime sounds.
  • Electronic Parking BrakeThe EPB is different from traditional parking systems which operated with the brake pedal or the lever type. The EPB send an electronic signal to the braking system when the driver operates the switch for a securely parked vehicle every time.