High Sierra: 2014 GMC Sierra’s Haptic Feedback Seat a Better Idea Than I Expected

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When I first wrote about the 2014 GMC Sierra’s haptic feedback driver seat, I wasn’t sure if it was a great idea. Having experienced it, I can now say it’s a better idea than I expected.

2014 GMC Sierra Photo Shoot 031

That leather seat is hiding not just the customary heating element, but also the Safety Alert Seat vibration module that alerts the driver to hazards that might be unnoticed otherwise. (Lyndon Johnson photo)

The sensation caught me by surprise, initially. I was backing into a parking space at work, paying close attention to my mirrors and to the IntelliLink touchscreen’s display of my rear-view camera and trying not to put a bright red paint scrape down the side of my editor’s black F-body, when a buzz in my seat cushoin caused me to jab the brake pedal out of sheer surprise. What the heck was that?

That was, of course, what GMC calls the Safety Alert Seat. In this case it was letting me know that I was closing in on the curb and no, thankfully, my editor’s ride. I had completely forgotten about this feature being one of the new safety tech features aboard the 2014 GMC Sierra.

Later, the feature became even more valuable.I was driving along in town and needed to make a lane hange so I wouldn’t miss my turn-off. I cheecked my mirors and saw nothing to cause alarm, so I signaled with intention of performing the lane change. As luck would have it, a small car was in my blind spot, and the haptic feedback alerted me that traffic was present.

I found the buzzing seat far more effective than a blind spot monitor light in such a situation. Most of the time, a blind spot monitor light is located on the mirror. A tiny little orange light or symbol will illuminate to let you know there’s a car in your blind spot. In heavy traffic, one could be forgiven for missing that small light. You won’t miss a seat that’s vibrating your buns off, though.

So yeah, I might have been skeptical at first, but the 2014 GMC Sierra made me a convert to the Safety Alert Seat. This is a technology I hope to see in future vehicles of all kinds — but especially larger ones with bigger blind spots.

Disclosure: GMC provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

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