Crash Avoidance Technology
Forward Collision Alert
Forward Collision Alert uses (usually) a combination of radar and cameras to monitor the road in front of you. When a collision with an object in front of you seems imminent, you receive an alert. Usually that alert is auditory and visual, but some vehicles even feature tactile alerts built into the seats or steering wheel. The benefit of Forward Collision Alert to the art of crash avoidance is obvious.
Automatic Braking & Adaptive Cruise
The most advanced Forward Collision Alert systems are combined with automatic braking. If a driver fails to respond to the alerts detailed above, the system will automatically engage the brakes to avoid or mitigate impact. Adaptive Cruise Control, meanwhile, will reduce your cruising speed to maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Then, once the road in front of you is clear, your set cruising speed will resume. Cadillac’s new Super Cruise feature can automatically brake, pull the vehicle to the roadside, and contact emergency services through OnStar.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Blind Spot Monitoring is becoming a standard feature in many new vehicles. Cameras and sensors track vehicles driving in blind spots and display a symbol side mirror when it’s not safe to change lanes. Ford’s F-Series has even started rolling out blind spot monitoring that can cover the length of a trailer.
Lane-Keep Assist or Departure Warning
These systems are pretty straightforward. If you start to drift out of your lane, lane departure warning alerts you audibly and visually. With Lane-Keep Assist, your vehicle will automatically correct your steering to keep you in the center of your lane.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is similar to blind spot monitoring. When you’re reversing your vehicle, the system will alert you to any obstacles approaching from the sides. Say goodbye to neck craning and blind hope in the Superstore parking lot.
The real future of safe driving technology is V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle communication). Vehicles equipped with V2V combine most of the features listed above with the ability to “talk” to other vehicle on the road. On a road where every car possessed V2V, if the vehicle in front of you was preparing to brake, your vehicle could automatically brake in anticipation. Of course, if you buy a vehicle with V2V right now, it won’t have many friends to talk to.
After listing the benefits of these and other crash avoidance technologies, auto manufacturers issue a common disclaimer. In short, they write that even the best safety technology can’t replace a responsible and attentive driver. And while that may not be the case in 20 years, it is the case now. So, here are some things drivers can do to avoid collisions without the latest safety tech.
Life in the Fast Lane
The majority of highway collisions happen in the leftmost or “fast lane.” That’s where you’ll find the greatest speed discrepancy between vehicles, the highest speeds, and the fewest “gates” through which you can safely move. A good crash avoidance technique is simply to stay in the rightmost lane and maintain a consistent speed.
Most drivers get into the habit of looking only at the vehicle in front of them. However, this is a dangerous practice. If you wait for the brake lights of the preceding car to alert you to upcoming obstacles, you will have little time to react. Routinely scan the distance so you can prepare to stop for slow traffic or road hazards.
The correct driving position is tighter than you might expect. With your back against the seat, you should be able to comfortably rest your wrists on top of the steering wheel. In that position, you will get optimal leverage to maneuver your vehicle, and control the pedals. You’ll also reduce arm fatigue over long car journeys.
Put Your Cellphone Away
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says you’re 23 times more likely to crash your vehicle if you text while driving.
Whether your car is equipped with the latest technology or not, maintaining road safety is every driver’s responsibility. Before every vehicle comes with standard V2V, stay alert and stay safe.