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A black 2022 GMC Acadia Denali is shown parked in a driveway.

What Safety Features Does the New GMC Acadia Offer?

The spaciousness and power of SUVs make them appealing to drivers of all stripes, but they can also be intimidating to folks who are used to driving smaller cars. Thankfully, advanced safety features in some models allow first-time SUV buyers to feel more comfortable behind the wheel. At the same time, experienced drivers can breathe a little easier knowing that there are plenty of sensors and alerts that have their back. That said, let’s take a look at how the 2022 GMC Acadia helps keep drivers and passengers safe and sound.

Warnings & Alerts

It’s important to always stay focused while driving, and no safety features can replace your own attention and instincts. However, everyone gets distracted now and then, especially on longer drives, so it’s nice to get a little nudge from your car reminding you to stay on task. GMC Pro Safety Plus, which comes standard on all trims of the Acadia, has several helpful alerts and warnings:

  • Forward Collision Alert lets you know when you’ve gotten too close to the car ahead of you, so you can slow down or stop in time to avoid rear-ending someone.
  • Lane Departure Warning lets you know when you’ve drifted a bit to the right or left so you don’t veer into the next lane accidentally.
  • Side Blind Zone Alert comes in handy when you do want to change lanes, letting you know when another vehicle is in your blind spot.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert lets you know when another car is driving by behind you; this is particularly helpful for backing out of a space in a parking lot.

The black and tan interior of a 2022 GMC Acadia Denali shows the center console.

Automatic Braking & Assist

Some situations require immediate action, and you might not be able to respond to a warning until it’s too late. That’s where these features come in. They automatically take certain actions in order to avoid dangerous situations. These include:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking brings the car to a safe stop when it’s about to collide with the vehicle in front of it.
  • Lane Keep Assist nudges the steering wheel slightly when the system sees that you are about to unintentionally leave your lane, automatically correcting your course. Of course, it’s designed not to activate when you are intentionally changing lanes, so it won’t react if you’re using a turn signal, actively accelerating, or braking.
  • Front Pedestrian Braking uses a front-facing camera to detect pedestrians. After a series of visual and auditory warnings, the system will apply hard emergency braking on your behalf.

If you aren’t comfortable with the Acadia being able to brake on its own, don’t worry. All of these settings are customizable, so you can pick whatever works for you. You can turn them off altogether, set them to alert-only, or set them to alert and brake.

Following Distance & Cruise Control

Awareness of the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you is vital, especially when driving on highways and freeways. Unexpected slow-downs due to accidents or rush hour happen all the time, and you need to give yourself enough time to react when you see brake lights ahead.

The following distance indicator takes the guesswork out of this process. It uses a combination of a camera and radar sensors to monitor the vehicle you’re following; then, it informs you of the time gap between the two of you, measured in seconds. This way, you’ll know how much time you have to react to a sudden stop—and can speed up or slow down accordingly.

Adaptive cruise control is also available on some trims. It uses the same sensors to help make the cruise control feature safer and more adaptive to changing traffic. Instead of just maintaining a consistent speed, you can set the cruise control to leave a certain following distance between you and the car in front of you. That way, you won’t have to brake and accelerate as much on long stretches of highway, giving your poor ankle a rest.

Safety Alert Seat

Some trims of the 2022 Acadia offer Safety Alert Seat, which uses vibrations to warn you about potential crashes. The vibrations will either happen on the left or right side of the seat—or on both sides at once, depending on the direction of the threat. This makes it easy to instantly know where a problem is so you can course-correct and avoid a crash. The vibrations are triggered by sensors I’ve already covered, including those that detect rear cross traffic and forward collisions. If you would rather not have the seat vibrate, you can switch to beeping alerts instead.

Intellibeam Auto Highbeams

Road safety is always important, but it’s especially vital when it’s dark out. Maintaining clear sightlines of the environment around you is critical, but this can be difficult on unlit country roads. High beams make it easier to see what’s ahead, but it’s important to switch back to the regular headlights when there’s oncoming traffic or a car right in front of you—since you don’t want to daze or distract any of your fellow drivers.

Unfortunately, constantly switching the high beams on and off can be not only an annoyance, but a distraction. That’s why the 2022 GMC Acadia comes standard with IntelliBeam automatic headlamp control, which leaves the high beams on until the system detects the headlights of an approaching vehicle, the taillights of a vehicle in front of you, or enough ambient light that the high beams aren’t necessary.

A red 2022 GMC Acadia SLT is shown from the rear while parked in a driveway.

Teen Driver

If you learn safe driving habits at an early age, they can stick with you for the rest of your life. Signing your teen up for a class or giving them one-on-one lessons yourself is important, but once your young driver has their license, there comes a point where they’re ready to drive on their own. This can be scary for parents who want to keep their kids safe. That’s where GMC’s Teen Driver system comes in handy. When you set this feature up, you create a 4-digit PIN that you must enter in order to change any settings, so you don’t have to worry about your tech-savvy teenager messing with it behind your back. You can even designate Teen Driver settings to a particular set of keys, so that you won’t have to activate and deactivate it if you share a car with your child.

There are a few different settings that kick in when Teen Driver is on. Buckle to Drive prevents the car from shifting out of park when the driver isn’t wearing a seatbelt. If the driver or a detected front passenger removes their seatbelt while the car is in motion, the radio will immediately mute until they buckle back up.

Speed warnings give off an audible chime when the driver has hit a designated speed limit set by the parent. You can also set a speed limit to automatically limit the car’s maximum acceleration. If you’re worried about your young one bothering the neighbors or damaging their own hearing with loud music, you can set a speaker system volume limit as well. Those with a SiriusXM subscription can also choose to set up an explicit content filter to prevent their teens from listening to anything inappropriate.

While Teen Driver is active, the “low fuel” warning can’t be dismissed until someone fills up the tank, so your teen won’t forget to pull over for gas. Also, any active safety systems, such as lane keep assist and forward collision alert, automatically turn on when your teen is behind the wheel. Once they’re back at home, you can check the Acadia’s report card to see whether or not they’ve been driving responsibly. It will show you data about how far the car was driven, the maximum speed it reached, and how many speed warnings (if any) were activated.

The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Any one of these features on its own can prevent accidents or fender-benders once in a while. Taken together, though, they essentially offer the driver an extra set of eyes around the vehicle. While none of these features can replace good driving skills and attentiveness, they can all enhance them. So if you’re behind the wheel of a 2022 GMC Acadia, you can drive confidently, knowing that you have a host of helpful tech on your side.