The best way to reduce crash injuries? Keep from crashing in the first place.
While that may be the goal of all drivers, reality shows us that is not always possible. With distracted driving on the rise, consumers are demanding more advanced safety systems that can help prevent accidents before they happen. Automakers have responded and many new vehicles now offer advanced crash avoidance features. These systems started out as options on a few luxury models and have steadily become more and more common across all passenger vehicles. By definition, advanced technologies assist the driver with warnings and/or automatic braking to help avoid or lessen the severity of a crash. These technologies include front crash prevention, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, park assist, adaptive headlights and backover prevention. Advances also are being made in intelligent transportation systems that allow vehicles to communicate with one another or with road infrastructure to help avoid crashes.
Forward collision warning systems are a major influence in reducing crashes. According to research done by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), vehicles equipped with this technology are less likely to rear-end other vehicles. As evidence, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) has found that owners of vehicles with forward collision prevention systems submit fewer claims under their property damage liability coverage, which pays for damage to vehicles that an at-fault driver hits. For example, Acura and Mercedes-Benz models with forward collision warning and active braking had 14% fewer insurance claims filed for property damage compared to the same models without the technology.
Here’s a breakdown of some crash avoidance technology systems.
Front crash prevention systems use cameras, laser beams and/or radar to scan the road ahead and alert the driver to any objects in the road ahead. If the system detects an object that the driver does not appear to be reacting to it takes action on its own. Some systems will sound an alert and prepare the brakes for full stopping power. Other systems will go ahead and apply the brakes automatically to prevent a crash.
Active blind spot detection systems track other vehicles as they approach the driver’s side blind spot. A visual alert appears on the console screen when another vehicle is currently occupying the blind spot. If the driver put on the turn signal to move into the occupied area, an audible tone or vibration sounds the alarm. Blind spot intervention systems automatically take the next step by preventing the driver from turning the wheel to move into the occupied space.
Lane departure warning systems use cameras to detect the lane markings on the road. If the driver moves outside of the marked lanes without using the turn signal, an alert appears. Usually, this is a visual alert combined with an audible tone or vibration. The lane departure prevention system then goes one step further and gently steers the vehicle back into its original lane. Ultimately, the driver has control and can bypass this system at any point by turning the steering wheel.
Adaptive headlights, unlike standard headlights which always point straight ahead, react to vehicle speed and direction to tilt the beams left or right, up to 15 degrees in either direction. This is particularly helpful when driving around a corner at night, allowing the driver to see objects in the road ahead that would be invisible with fixed beams. Some vehicles also come with cornering lights that can provide up to 80 degrees of additional side illumination when the car is moving slower than 25 mph, like in a parking lot. Adaptive headlights also are reducing property damage liability claims, but studies of this advanced crash avoidance system hasn’t been conclusive.
Electronic stability control is an older — and proven — crash avoidance feature. Standard on 2012 and later models, ESC is an extension of antilock brake technology that helps drivers maintain control of their vehicles on curves and slippery roads. ESC lowers the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash by about half and the risk of a fatal rollover by as 80 percent.
Whether or not you opt for a crash prevention system in your next car Freedom Insurance can help you with all your automobile insurance needs. Call today!
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