Collision Avoidance Systems
Major advancements have occurred in the last 30 years in automobile safety equipment air bags, antilock brakes, rear camera, and more. In the last few years, many luxury models have adopted collision avoidance systems first as options and now as standard equipment. As more auto manufactures add collision avoidance systems to their fleet, the degree of avoidance driver responsibility and system reliability comes into question. Advanced technologies assist the driver with warnings or automatic braking to help avoid or mitigate a crash. Systems is a combination of various safety systems. These systems include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, front crash prevention, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, adaptive headlights, park assist and backup collision prevention.
When curve adaptive head lights are included as a feature in the collision avoidance system, studies have shown that property damage liability claims fell as much as 10 percent with adaptive headlights. These headlight systems assist the driver beyond visual assistance when turning into a curve. The quality that manufactures put into the system may play a part in reducing collisions. Factors that may play a part include, brightness or beam pattern besides steering ability for the headlights.
Surprisingly, Electronic stability control systems, (ESC) have been effective in reducing fatalities in single vehicle crashes by 49% and multiple-vehicle crash risk by 20%. ESC is a technology that acts on the vehicle stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction. The ESC software detects loss of steering control and automatically applies the brakes to help direct the vehicle/driver in the intended direction. Some systems reduce engine power until control is regained.
Antilock brakes systems (ABS) have not had significant effects on reducing collisions. As people learn how to use ABS, and it becomes an integral part of the anti-collision systems, accidents will be reduced even further. Many experts have indicated that drivers habits are hard to break, drivers have been taught to pump the brakes to avoid brake overheating while with ABS brakes the driver should apply constant pressure throughout the braking process.
Front crash prevention systems that function at higher speeds, studies have shown significantly fewer insurance claims under property damage liability coverage for Acura and Mercedes-Benz vehicles with forward collision warning with automatic braking than for the same vehicles that weren’t equipped with the technology. When options like autobrakes are omitted the incidents of collision is increased, an indication that all parts of the system should be included to reduce the accident rate.
Front crash prevention systems can be beneficial even if they do not avoid the crash altogether yet still reduce speeds. Intuitively, the lower the speed at collision, the lower the severity of the crash. Studies have shown why reducing speed is important, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted two demonstration crash tests at different speeds: A 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class ran into the back of a stationary 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. The tests illustrate what happens in a 25 mph crash when the striking vehicle doesn’t have autobrake, compared with what happens when autobrake reduced the speed by half. Lowering the speed to 12 mph reduce the damage by 75%. A similar speed reduction in a higher speed crash could reduce injury risk, as well as vehicle damage.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety predicts that if all passenger vehicles were equipped with collision avoidance systems about 1 in 3 fatal crashes and 1 in 5 injury crashes could be prevented or reduced injury and property damage. Of the four technologies, blind spot detection is applicable to the largest number of crashes. ESC showed the most potential for reducing fatal crashes, possibly preventing or avoiding 15 percent of fatal large truck crashes each year. As with any new technology, the user will determine the effectiveness of these systems. Drivers must accept and trust the technology. If drivers reject the systems and turn them off, the systems with be ineffective.