Collision Avoidance Technology, Does it Work?

Most people embrace new technology and especially appreciate vehicle safety features. The idea is to keep passengers safe and avoid a trip to the auto body shop. The question is, to what extent can we rely on vehicle safety features?

Usually, I am inspired to write a blog after a conversation with one of our collision repair customers. However, this time I had a scary occurrence while driving home. I will tell you that I have a 2019 vehicle equipped with many safety features including lane departure warning, automatic braking, blind-spot detection, etc. I was driving 50 mph on a four-lane road when the car suddenly beeped loudly and automatically started braking. The sudden stopping motion caused my head to fly back and hit the headrest. I looked around thinking I must of just avoided a collision! But surprisingly, no other vehicles were around my car. There was a blue Jeep far ahead, no one behind me (thank goodness) and no one to the side. So what enabled automatic braking? I immediately called the car dealer service department and explained. The response? “Hmm, sounds like an electrical problem.” I left my vehicle for diagnosis at the dealer for 4 work days. The explanation? None. They were unable to duplicate the issue. To tell you that I am uneasy driving my car is an understatement.

A representative from the dealer could only make a guess that a signal floating around lined up with my vehicle causing automatic braking. He also shared, that other customers reported their lane departure warning activated when no one is to the side of their vehicle. Even though the dealer didn’t have a solid explanation, I did find other drivers (with the same vehicle) reporting similar incidences on various websites.

I began to question vehicle technology safety features. Are accidents decreasing? How do driver’s feel about in-car tech?

While researching this topic I found some conflicting information. Some reports say that safety features like sensors have prevented a great deal of collisions. Other reports say auto body repairs are actually increasing due to people having a false sense of security because of these collision avoidance features.

Image of a crash barrier caused by auto body collision

Common Collision Avoidance Features:

  • Blindspot detection
  • Rear-view cameras
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning

How do Driver’s Feel about In-Car Tech?

“Ten percent of drivers recently surveyed by Esurance said they believe semi-autonomous technology in cars is hindering their driving. Nearly 30 percent of respondents admitted that warning sounds — the audible alerts, beeps and blinking lights — could be distracting. Moreover, one in four drivers are disabling at least one feature intended to increase their safety, Esurance found.”

How Much Does Each Generation Value In-CarTech?

  • Millennials 54%
  • Generation X 36%
  • Baby Boomers 31%

Cox Automotive mobility study, published August 2018

“People want more tech but it’s always the No. 1 complaint when it doesn’t work,” Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader, a part of Cox Automotive, told ABC News.

Technology and Distracted Driving

Auto collisions in the United States have increased since the mid-2000’s. This is around the same time this type of vehicle technology was first introduced. Distracted driving is certainly contributing to the increase in car accidents and visits to the auto body shop.

Image of a person texting while driving

Most Common Distracted Driving Behaviors:

  • Texting
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Adjusting radio or navigation

Certainly there is a correlation between distracted driving and the need for safety features. More and more brands of vehicles are competing and sometimes outdoing one another, not only to sell more vehicles but to get the public ready to accept fully autonomous vehicles.

While there is still no explanation for my vehicle automatically braking, I have to state the obvious: drivers need to be actively engaged on the road. This means avoiding distractions and being ready to react in an emergency situation. The safety features are a layer of extra protection and may help motorists avoid injury and/or auto body repair. Certainly more advanced vehicle technology will be here soon. Drive safe and alert!

Airpark Collision Center is a full-service auto body shop. Please stop in or click for an online estimate!

Tina Small has been part of the Airpark Collision Center team since 2006. Working directly with customers, her goal is to share frequent customer questions, and proper methods of collision repair.

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