Are Your Car’s Safety Features Enough Protection Against Accidents?

When purchasing a modern car, many people generally watch out for the safety features that come pre-installed. The belief is that these features, collectively known as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), can help prevent accidents.

If you are of the above school of thought, you are not entirely wrong. Unfortunately, you are not completely right either. Apart from the fact that road accidents can still occur even with the most modern of features, your ADAS still has limitations. Research has shown that many drivers are unaware of these limitations.

When used properly, ADAS like blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist can prevent up to 40% of all vehicle crashes and reduce traffic deaths by more than 30%. However, this can only be the case when a large number of drivers fully understand how to use these systems. Unfortunately, not many do.

In fact, experts suggest that up to 80% of drivers with blind-spot monitoring systems do not know that the systems can only work when a vehicle is really in the blind spot and the fact that these systems can’t pick up vehicles that are travelling at high speeds. 

In the same vein, many drivers erroneously believe that forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems perform the same function. This means they expect forward-collision warning system to apply the brakes in the face of an emergency but in reality, the system is only designed to issue a warning.

Over Reliance Can Be Deadly
When combined with a lack of understanding of the workings of a safety feature, over-reliance can lead to crashes. For instance, some drivers in cars with blind spot systems relax, believing that they will be warned about pedestrians or oncoming traffic instead of performing visual checks on their own. Similarly, some with forward-collision warning systems fall into a false sense of security where they feel comfortable doing other things while on the steering wheels.

This exhibition of over-reliance can be catastrophic. It is true that modern safety features can make driving safer but they have not come close to completely relieving us of our responsibilities while driving.

Features Can Malfunction
Even when your car has the full list of modern safety features, you are still not certain that they will perform their basic duties properly. Over the last few years, we have seen a high number of auto recalls, with some as a result of faulty or malfunctioning car safety systems. Here is a great article about recall stats at which demonstrates why you can never rest on your oars when driving.

So What Should You Do?
Artificial intelligence and car manufacturing technology are advancing at great speeds. However, until the technology is at the stage where we can truly trust these ADAS completely, we need to stay in charge.

Firstly, when you purchase your car, ask your dealer for some training on the technology to understand what each tech piece can and cannot do. This could be thrown in for free but even if you have to pay for the short course, it is fully worth it. Wild guesses on the efficacy and function of your ADAS could be fatal.

Secondly, you need to fight over-reliance on the ADAS even when you have understood how it works. These systems should serve as backups and should never replace standard responsible driving behaviour.

Finally, you need to keep an eye out for auto recall news or messages to be sure you are not driving a defective unit. Stories like Subaru recalling 72,000 cars and Mercedes recalling some 2012 cars  are some examples of when ADAS can become problems.

Amelie Taylor writes content for which specializes in providing online car services like free car history report, license plate search and more.  

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One Response to “Are Your Car’s Safety Features Enough Protection Against Accidents?”

  1. James C. Walker says:

    ADAS lull many drivers into a false sense of security when they work properly 99+% of the time – so many drivers fail to maintain the constant attention it takes to drive safely. Then when the systems fail to work perfectly, the drivers’ attention is diverted enough to make their response time too long to prevent avoiding accidents. Ever wonder why freeway signs for restaurants & other features at the next exit never have more than 6 logos? Research showed most drivers can perceive 6 logos with about 2 seconds of attention, and attention diversion of over 2 seconds is unsafe at freeway speeds.