Everyone knows that Traveling Moms get around (on the road that is) and are experts in travel. Road trips  can be fun but also a little nerve wracking, especially when you are carrying your most precious cargo: your family. Moms have a reason to be nervous. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported 32,675 fatalities from road accidents in the U.S. in 2014. It is a relief to know that companies like Ford consider road safety a top priority and are continuously creating new technology to keep us safer on the road. Some of our Traveling Moms got to try out some of these new features during a road trip to Orlando.

safety on the road with Ford

Photo: Allison Taylor – Keeping these sweet faces safe is a top priority for Research Traveling Mom

If you haven’t purchased a new car in a while, there are a lot of new safety features that you should know about. Traveling Moms had the opportunity to drive some 2016 Ford vehicles and here are their top picks in new (to them) safety features.

Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go

I have to agree with Travel Hack Traveling Mom, Dia Wisely Adams, that this feature is pretty awesome. She loved the way it automatically slowed down to an appropriate speed when the car in front was getting too close. It took her a while to get used to not breaking herself, but once she trusted in this feature, she was able to relax and enjoy the ride.

Cruise control helps to keep the driver’s legs from becoming a distraction because they tired and cramped. This new kind of cruise control feature is especially great for long road trips where traffic is continually changing and touching the brakes every few minutes can be tiring but also dangerous if you don’t immediately notice that traffic has slowed.

This feature works with a radar sensor that detects slowing traffic ahead and automatically brakes or accelerates to keep you moving with the pace of traffic. With the “stop-and-go” feature, the vehicle can be completely stopped in traffic and it will restart as traffic begins to move again. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should not pay attention and brake early if you feel it is necessary.

Ford Blind Spot Alert System

Cross-alert – Photo: Angela Tiffin, History Buff Traveling Mom

BLIS®, the Blind Spot Information System

After driving Ford’s 2016 Expedition and 2016 Edge respectively, Technology Traveling Mom, Deb S. and East Coast Traveling Mom, Mary Dixon Lebeau both agreed that the BLIS system was a great feature. They loved the cross traffic alert that lit up on the side mirrors when a car was approaching in their blind spot. With such a large vehicle and children in the car, it was nice to have that extra check to make sure the way was clear to change lanes.

Integrated Step Ladder

Safety doesn’t always mean while you are on the road. Retro Traveling Mom, Mary Moore found the 2016 Ford F150 pick up truck a little daunting at first because of its overall size and height. She appreciated the vehicle’s integrated step ladder feature that is conveniently stored in the tailgate system. For the vertically challenged, loading and unloading the back of the F-150 would be a little dicey without the ladder. The ladder pulls easily pulls out of the tailgate and includes a stable telescopic handle for extra support and safety.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

Some safety features are less obvious. The electronic stability control works silently to reduce the risk of an accident by assisting the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle during emergency maneuvers. Long road trips can mean a likelihood of inclement weather and a higher probability that you may need to stop suddenly or swerve on icy or slick roads. All Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury light cars and trucks feature ESC technology.

Occupant Classification System

While only select vehicles include advanced airbag controllers, as a mom of a petite tween who always wants to sit in the front seat, I wish all cars had this. The system classifies the front passenger as a larger or smaller person. The system adjusts or suppresses the deployment of the airbag as necessary.

Inflatable Rear Safety Belts

Rear outboard safety belts help distribute crash-force energy across more of the torso area than traditional belts, which can help reduce the risk of injury, while providing support to the head and neck.

When Research Traveling Mom, Allison Taylor, recently drove the 2016 Ford Explorer platinum edition, she, thankfully, did not experience seeing the inflatable belts deploy but was comforted to know that they were designed to hold the passenger in the appropriate seating position, helping to reduce risk of injury. They are compatible with many infant and child-safety booster seats, but not all, so make sure you check before your road trip.

Ford Inflatable Rear Safety Belts

Photo: Gina DeCaprio Vercesi

Best Road Safety TechSYNC Connect System

You may not think of a vehicle’s communication and entertainment features as relating to safety but after using SYNC for the first time, you will see the safety benefits. A touch screen with an enhanced interface allows you to conveniently pull up your smartphone’s audio enabled apps like Google maps or your music to a luxurious large clear 8-inch LCD screen so the driver doesn’t have to fiddle with their phone in the console to grab directions or put on an audio book.

Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection

My favorite of all the new features, the radar and camera sensor can detect pedestrians (and pets) in front of your car. It can also detect stopped or moving vehicles that are traveling in the same direction. A heads-up display, which simulates brake lights, flashes on the windshield and an audible alert sounds. If you don’t react, and the system detects a collision is credible, the brakes will pre-charge and increase brake-assist sensitivity to provide full responsiveness when you brake. If that weren’t enough, if the Pre-Collision Assist detects a collision threat, the heads-up display will flash, a chime will activate and the radio will mute. This could be a life saver with a sleepy driver or a distracted teen. It is currently available on SE, Titanium and V6 Sport models and standard on Platinum.

The Traveling Moms appreciated all of the safety features as they drove many miles from all over the country with their families to their final destination, vacation resort residences in Orlando, booked through Vacatia.com.