Published On: Tue, Oct 28th, 2014

Accident Avoidance Technologies: It’s Time for a Closer Look

Accidents are a fact of life. It’s how insurance companies make their money – by charging premiums for the financial protection from an accident. Of course, accidents are costly, and they do cost insurers a lot of money, but they also take a non-financial toll on the individuals involved in them.

If you’re involved in an accident, there’s a good chance you’ll be injured if it’s a high-speed collision. Even low-speed collisions carry the risk of injury or mental trauma. Fortunately, many car manufacturers are capitalizing on market demand for safer vehicles. Here’s how the current technologies stack up.

Rough Road Sign public domain

Rough Road Sign public domain

Autobraking and Front-Crash Prevention Systems

Autobraking is the latest technology to hit the market. Essentially, these systems are crash-prevention systems aimed at high-end vehicles and consumer markets. A series of sensors in the vehicle warn drivers that a crash is imminent and actively apply the brakes to slow the vehicle down.

Some vehicles, like the BMW 5 series, the X5, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class all have excellent active autobraking systems that totally prevent collisions. But, you don’t always have to drive a luxury vehicle to benefit. You can get these systems on some Buicks, Chevys, Dodges, and Toyotas.

Others, like the BMW 3 series for 2013, don’t work as well. Its system doesn’t always recognize a stopped vehicle and therefore can’t always stop in time to prevent a collision. Still other vehicles employ only basic warning systems that slow down the vehicle but don’t stop it before the collision.

Collision Warning

Some systems don’t actually provide autobraking, even though their systems appear to provide this service. Of course, if you’re in a car crash because you didn’t apply the brakes to prevent a crash, the fault is going to land on you, and you’re going to have to call someone like the Philly Car Accident Guys to help you out of a jam.

Collision warning systems only alert drivers of an impending collision. They don’t prevent them. These systems are a bit useless unless you’re already alert to the driving conditions. But that raises the question – if you’re alert, do you really need this system?

Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive cruise control adjusts your speed automatically while driving so that you don’t have to apply the brakes. This is very useful on the highway or on two-lane roads where speeds exceed 50MPH. By controlling the speed for you, you reduce your risk of getting into a serious accident.

Lane-Departure Warning

Lane-departure warnings may or may not come with an auto-corrective driving mechanism, pushing you back into your lane. These systems generally only warn you that you’ve drifted off into another lane. These systems are incredibly helpful if you’re dosing off at the wheel, because they sound a rather obnoxious alarm to keep you awake. But, they often don’t to anything to safely pull you back into your own lane. In fact, if you’re startled by the warning, it could be more dangerous – causing you to jerk the wheel as an overreaction.

Blind Spot Detection

Blind spot detection is a system of sensors that detects when objects are coming up in your blind spot on the road while you’re driving. It alerts you to the danger so that you don’t cause a collision.

Parking Assist and Backover Prevention

The parking assist features on many newer vehicles help you parallel park so that you don’t have to worry about doing this complex maneuver yourself. Most people aren’t so good with parallel parking and K-turns. It’s the one thing on your driver’s test that you dreaded. Now, finally, technology has caught up with your fears.

Adaptive Headlights

Low on the list of preventative devices is the adaptive headlight system. These systems move the headlights to illuminate the road in the direction that the driver intends for the vehicle to move. They’re not really a crash-avoidance system, per se, but they often employ a few basic safety features that may reduce the risk of a collision.

The first safety measure is a fatigue warning system that uses a monitor to detect when drivers are drowsy or losing attention. When the system detects reduced alertness, a warning sounds for the driver’s safety.

Finally, most newer vehicles are being equipped with an electronic stability control system, or ESC. These systems selectively apply power to wheels that have maximum traction, while decreasing power to wheels that are slipping or have lost traction on the road.

Some systems also actively apply braking power in hard cornering to slow the vehicle down if it’s moving too fast to safely make the turn.

Guest Author :

Keith Kofsky, Esq, is always on the lookout for ways to make driving safer. A personal injury attorney in the Philadelphia area, his goal is to protect victims. Look for his enlightening articles on various blog sites.

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