Labor Day travelers turn off car security systems at their own risk

Those planning a late summer road trip over Labor Day weekend are urged to be extra careful when crossing highways across the country. Indeed, road deaths, after years of steady decline, continue an upward trend that began at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 9,560 people died in traffic accidents during the first quarter of 2022. This represents an increase of about 7% compared to the same period a year ago, and c is the highest number of deaths recorded in the first quarter. in a decade.

The jump coincides with an increase in the number of miles driven, with motorists racking up 40 billion more in the first quarter of this year than in 2021 (a 5.6% increase) when more Americans were working and otherwise self-isolating at home.

Ironically, the number of fatalities is rising despite the proliferation of high-tech safety equipment in today’s cars, trucks and SUVs that can help motorists avoid collisions in the first place. They are known in the industry as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and are now offered as standard or optional equipment in all size and price categories.

Unfortunately, ADAS systems are of no use when turned off by drivers who find the associated beeps, buzzes and other alerts, as well as occasional braking or steering inputs, to be unduly annoying and/or annoying.

According to data collected by Erie Insurance, an estimated 17% of advanced automatic emergency braking/warning systems are deliberately disabled for this reason. Similarly, 21% of motorists are guilty of disabling lane departure systems for insistent reminders of their car’s tires touching lane markers or the edges of the road. And although the systems tend to be less pushy, an estimated 9% of drivers deactivate blind spot warning.

And yet, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) argues that each of these sophisticated systems, which rely on an array of sensors and cameras, can prove to be a real lifesaver. For those who may not yet be familiar with today’s ADAS, here’s a quick look at the technology and its real-world benefits according to the IIHS, based on police-reported crashes and accident claims. insurance for vehicles with and without the systems:

Automatic emergency braking

This system monitors the road ahead and alerts the driver to apply the brakes if it determines that a crash with another vehicle or another obstacle is likely. It will then automatically apply full brakes if the driver does not react quickly enough to prevent or at least reduce the severity of an impending frontal collision. The IIHS says this system prevents 50% of potential front-to-rear crashes and 56% of those injury crashes.

Pedestrian detection

Many automatic braking systems can also spot and help prevent collisions with pedestrians, cyclists, and even large animals that may cross a vehicle’s path. The IIHS estimates that they reduced the number of collisions between cars and pedestrians by 27% and the number of injuries in these collisions by 30%.

Lane departure warning

This system alerts the driver when the vehicle inadvertently touches or crosses the lane markers. The alert will not activate if the turn signals are activated, as this would be the correct procedure to follow before changing lanes. Some systems will automatically return the vehicle to the center of the lane, either through steering or braking intervention. IIHS data indicates that the system stops 14% of lane-change crashes and prevents 23% of injuries in those that do occur.

Rear Cross Traffic Alert

Commonly associated with Blind Spot Warning, this feature notifies the driver if another car is approaching while exiting a garage or parking space. According to the IIHS, cars so equipped are 22% less likely to have rescue accidents.

Rear automatic braking

Used in conjunction with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, this ADAS will automatically apply the brakes to avoid hitting a pedestrian or other vehicle in its rear path. When combined with a backup camera and rear parking sensors, the IIHS says the system helps prevent 78% of reverse collisions.

The bottom line: As beneficial as the latest ASAS may be, the IIHS warns that they are still not foolproof. Lane departure warning sensors, for example, may not be able to identify markers or edges of the road on pavement that is not well marked or covered in snow. Sensors may not perform up to their abilities in low light conditions or at certain speeds. Additionally, pedestrian detection systems have proven to be effective only during daylight hours or on well-lit roads.

Finally, no matter how much equipment a given vehicle contains to help prevent accidents, its most important safety feature is still the driver. Motorists should obey posted speed limits and stay sober and engaged in the task at hand without distractions to remain 100% efficient. Safety first, right?

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