With constant, bleary-eyed mornings and never-ending errand-running, we could all use a little leg up behind the wheel. Those in the market for a 2014 MINI Cooper/Cooper S Hardtop may be getting big help in the driver-assist area -- a boon to harried commuters everywhere.

Safety First

Its parent company, BMW, has announced 2014 models will feature such innovative systems as a small, high-resolution head-up display on top of the dash. It helps the driver focus on the road by providing pertinent info smack dab in the driver's line of vision. What's key about this is how quickly and easily the information appears, without the need to take your eyes off the road.

MINI also has collision- and pedestrian-warning systems, including a neat city braking feature that makes it much simpler to steer clear of scary city driving snafus involving wayward tourists absentmindedly burying themselves in maps and picture-taking.

Adaptive cruise control will be added, too, slowing down the car when the vehicle in front gets too close. Then, once it's okay to speed up, it automatically does so.

An Extra Set Of Eyes

Drivers will also get some all-important parking assistance (perfect for those insanely crowded Saturday morning treks to the mall). This feature helps locate spots and ease into them -- with drivers needing only to accelerate and hit the brakes -- while the reverse camera will alert you to hazards when maneuvering in and out of those tight parking lot vacancies.

Other developments for 2014 models include the video-based speed and distance control -- a function that automatically prevents you from getting too close to the vehicle ahead of you, and the speed limit information system, which displays the speed limit of the road you are driving down.

For those who may be tempted to bend the rules of the road in moments of "I-just-need-to-get-there-now," it may take time getting used to the no passing display and traffic sign memory functions. Also, the digital headlight assist function helps drivers navigate the roads at night, with a full spectrum of headlight functions, including a camera that registers oncoming traffic.

Folks jonesing to get their hands on one of these souped-up cars won't have to wait too much longer. The new MINI Cooper will debut at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show in late November.

Big moves in safety are downright mini.

author photo

Lindsay Martell has covered entertainment news for E! Entertainment and tech trends for TechTV, CNBC, Newsfactor, and Sci-Tech Today, among others. She lives in Oakland, California.

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