Car safety tech is becoming an industry standard. But its terminology can be complex.
Some manufacturers use different terminology for describing similar technologies. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, front collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring could prevent one-third of all police-reported crashes. When the technology fails, you might want to contact a car accident lawyer.
Table of Contents
Lane Departure Warning
Lane departure warning (LDW) systems employ a camera to track the striped or solid road markings, and when one of these lines are crossed without first using your turn signal, an alert may be given either visually in your instrument panel or through vibration of the steering wheel.
Some of these systems can also subtly guide a car back into its lane, giving drivers peace of mind while they do their own driving. While this technology has great promise, keep in mind that it shouldn’t replace active driving altogether.
Forward Collision Warning
Forward collision warning utilizes sensors or cameras (depending on your model) to scan for vehicles ahead of you and alert if you get too close. Should this occur, an audible and visual indicator or both may sound to warn of imminent danger.
FCW can also help combat tailgating by monitoring your distance from vehicles ahead and alerting you if you’re following too closely, pre-filling the brake system for immediate response when pressing pedal.
Pedestrian detection uses cameras or radar to scan your car’s surroundings for pedestrians crossing in front of it, alerting drivers if someone approaches, and in some instances automatically applying brakes when necessary.
However, pedestrian detection systems can be unreliable. A 2020 study by AAA discovered that these systems often reacted too late – particularly in lower speed zones and at night when 75% of pedestrian fatalities take place.
Even with its limitations, an effective system should still help lower the likelihood of collision with pedestrians; it cannot replace attentive driving though.
Rear Collision Warning
Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning systems use sensors mounted to either side of your rear bumper to warn if another car approaches from either direction while backing up.
These systems alert drivers via flashing lights, beeps or vibration of their seats to potential collisions through warning lights, beeps or vibration. In addition, if collision is detected they may automatically tighten up front safety belts to provide added protection for you and others on board.
Recent studies found that vehicles equipped with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking reduced rear-end crashes by 49%. Pulse takes less than five minutes to install and may reduce fleet costs by reducing insurance premiums.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Blind spot monitoring systems were once exclusively found on luxury vehicles, but have become more widely available on more budget-minded models. This technology works by using sensors to detect vehicles not visible in your side mirror and alerts you either visually or audibly of any approaching cars that don’t match up with what your side mirror shows you. More advanced systems work in tandem with turn signals to detect when there are cars in your blind spot and warn if you try changing lanes when another car is nearby.
Though these technologies cannot completely replace good driving practices, they can help lower stress levels and speed reaction times while helping prevent lane-change accidents which account for 14% of vehicle accidents that cause injuries.
Lane Keep Assist
Lane keep assist uses video cameras to continuously monitor your car in relation to road lane markings, alerting you if you begin drifting into too close proximity by way of visual display, audible warning or vibration in steering wheel or seat. Should it detect that you’re drifting too closely toward them it will provide warning via visual display, audible alarm or vibrations through steering wheel or seat.
Many vehicles equipped with lane keep assist also come equipped with a lane departure prevention system to keep drivers from accidentally drifting from their intended lane and onto motorways. These systems work by employing automatic steering or braking mechanisms to gently guide their vehicle back into place, keeping you within your intended lane.
Adaptive Cruise Control
ACC systems utilize radar, lasers, binocular computer vision systems or forward-aimed cameras to track the car ahead and maintain a preset distance between you and them. Some ACC systems even include GPS data equipment as well as traffic sign recognition, so as to adjust your speed according to posted limits.
Some systems will even bring your vehicle to a complete stop when traffic halts completely, then accelerate once cars resume moving again. Other systems can slow down around curves or adjust according to road conditions as necessary.
Automatic Emergency Braking
Sensors and cameras used by AEB systems monitor roads for vehicles and pedestrians and estimate their speeds, monitoring for collision potential by issuing visual and audible alerts when possible collisions arise, then activating brakes if no action taken to avoid or mitigate force of an impact is taken by drivers.
AEB can reduce rear-end accidents at lower speeds, but it shouldn’t replace paying attention to the road. Some systems have proven overzealous and led to unexpected braking events.