The future of car safety is here

New, groundbreaking features can alert you to danger before you even know it's there. But added safety comes at added cost.

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Collision warning
Problem: 1,162,000 accidents per year are rear-end collisions

Possible solution: Collision warning and mitigation

What it does: Warns you with light or sound if you must take action to avoid crashing into something ahead of you. Most systems ready the brakes for a quick stop. Some prepare the cabin for impact - tightening seatbelts, raising seatbacks, even closing windows.

Availability: Mostly on luxury cars, like Mercedes, Volvos, and Lincolns. Now also an option on the Ford Taurus.

Estimated cost: $1,500

Worth it? Definitely. Driving a new Lincoln MKT one day this summer, I was ogling a 1960s Ferrari on my left when a loud alarm sounded. The car ahead had stopped short. I hit the brakes, and the MKT ground to a halt - anecdotal evidence that this feature can prevent rear-enders. The only caveat: On some cars you may need to adjust the system's sensitivity, so that it won't be too easily triggered by stop-and-go traffic.

NEXT: Lane drifting
Last updated November 02 2009: 4:37 PM ET
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