Once an unheard-of concept, more and more vehicles (surprisingly affordable ones), are now built with standard equipment that includes a wide range of crash avoidance technology. The goal? To reduce the number of vehicle crashes that take place each year. So, what are these features and what do they mean for you as a consumer?
Crash avoidance technology benefits
In case you’re wondering how effective these technologies are for keeping people safe, CNBC recently reported that single-vehicle sideswipes and head-on collisions were reduced by 11 percent in 2015 among vehicles equipped with the appropriate crash avoidance technologies. The report goes on to explain that injuries from these types of crashes were reduced by 21 percent.
One (important) thing to note, is that the systems are only effective if drivers do not turn them off. For instance, some vehicles have land departure warnings that vibrate seats while others have warning systems that beep. Drivers find this annoying and turn them off, rendering them ineffective.
What types of crash avoidance technologies exist?
There are a variety of systems and technologies available today to help drivers avoid crashes. In fact the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) lists eight separate crash avoidance technologies that can be instrumental in preventing accidents today. They include:
Front Crash Prevention
Depending on your vehicle, this system may deliver an audible warning, or it may begin braking automatically if you get too close to the vehicle or object in front of you. While it may not eliminate all crashes, it will decrease the severity by reducing speeds at the point of impact.
Lane Departure Warnings
This feature alerts drivers when they are at risk of crossing lanes without signaling with a blinker. It may also use seat vibrations or audible warnings like beeping.
Blind Spot Detection
Vehicles may use visual or audible alerts to notify you when other vehicles are in your blind spot, so you do not attempt to change lanes.
Park Assist and Rear Crash Prevention
Uses rear object detection to help you look for items behind you while backing up to park. May automatically brake to avoid potential collisions if rear cross-traffic is detected.
Monitors driver behavior to detect signs of fatigued or drowsy driving.
Improves vehicle safety and driver visibility by having headlights pivot along with the steering wheel so you see what’s on the road ahead of you, even when driving on winding roads.
Electronic Stability Control
This is one of the more complex vehicle safety systems in that it adapts the vehicle to maintain stability while driving the course you indicate with the steering wheel.
This is one of the older safety features available on vehicles and is standard on all new vehicles. It works by preventing wheels from locking when you engage in hard braking. It works by pulsing the brake instead of locking it.
Additional safety technology that saves lives
Consumer reports goes on to list a few additional crash avoidance technologies that are available, too:
Automatic Emergency Braking (Front and Rear): Your vehicle will automatically apply brakes to slow your vehicle. This may prevent a crash or substantially reduce the speed at which impact occurs.
Rear Cross-Traffic Warning: May signal with a beep or visual cue if an object, person, or vehicle is moving toward the rear of your vehicle as you prepare to back up or are backing up. In some newer cars equipped with Rear automatic emergency brakes, it may automatically apply the brakes.
Lane-Keeping/Centering Assist: This goes beyond lane departure warnings by engaging automatic steering to keep you within your lane.
Adaptive Cruise Control: Automatically adjusts speeds, while cruise control is engaged, to maintain a safe driving distance between your car and he car in front of you. Some vehicles even accommodate stop and go traffic with adaptive cruise control.
It’s important to point out that no technology can completely eliminate the risk of any and all accidents. Even driver-less or autonomous cars have been known to crash. But these safety features, along with many others, go a long way toward reducing accidents on the road and keeping drivers and passengers safe. Drivers who invest in these types of technologies should be rewarded for their responsible choices, but unfortunately, many insurance companies fail to reward these safe drivers – and we think that’s completely unfair.
Elephant rewards drivers who purchase vehicles with advanced safety features and crash avoidance technologies with discounts. In fact, we’re currently one of the only auto insurance companies to prioritize safety. It’s clear that car manufacturers are prioritizing safety, and it’s clear that cars with these safety features are saving lives and preventing accidents. It’s now time for the insurance industry to do that same.