Auto manufacturers are making great strides in ensuring the safety and peace-of-mind of all drivers on the road by implementing a new generation of smart-tech safety features in all 2021 vehicles. In the past, many driver safety features were only available on high-priced models and luxury vehicles, but today, most vehicles are equipped with advanced safety technology that wasn't even available just five years ago. With all of the new developments and improvements in vehicle safety technology, it is important to be aware of what these safety features are and how they work to keep drivers safe.
This week, we will focus on the most current Collision Prevention safety features that our modern-day technological marvels (cars) have, how they work, and how to best use them to ensure a heightened sense of control and security while on the road.
Forward Collision Prevention
Forward Collision Prevention is a standard safety feature in all 2021 vehicles. This smart technology uses front-mounted camera technology to scan the road ahead while you drive. It will warn you when it detects a potential front-end collision with a vehicle you are following using audible tones which are sometimes accompanied by a visual alert that appears on your dash. If you fail to react in time, it will alert your car to use Automatic Emergency Braking (see below) or Brake Assist to help avoid or reduce the severity of a front-end collision.
Keep in mind: this system is NOT a replacement for diligent and attentive driving. Reference you owner's manual for an image and description of the icon that will appear on your dash when Forward Collision Warning goes off, for the display icon may vary per manufacturer. Below is an example of a Forward Collision Alert Icon in a General Motors vehicle:
Image courtesy of GM Authority
Automatic Emergency Braking
Image courtesy of Torque Media/SGCM Pte Ltd.
Automatic Emergency Braking only comes into effect when absolutely necessary. If you haven't braked in response to the aforementioned Forward Collision Warning, this high-tech system will slow and, if need-be, even stop the movement of your vehicle. It is possible to turn off the Auto Emergency Brakes if the feature makes you uncomfortable or activates unnecessarily, as has been reported by some users.
Check your owner's manual or ask an auto technician if you would like to disable the feature, which is sometimes referred to as autonomous emergency brakes (AEB).
Here is an example of the most common dashboard alert icon for a car's Automatic Emergency Braking system:
Image courtesy of Firestone Complete Auto Care Blog
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
Anti-lock brakes are a standard safety feature that has been around for a few decades, and has been greatly improved in new vehicles. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) detect when your wheels begin to lock up, using sensors mounted at each wheel to monitor the speed at which your wheels are turning. If one wheel is turning slower than any of the others, that means it is locking up, and ABS will begin to mimic a skill that all seasoned winter drivers already know: the "pump" method of braking.
This means that ABS will rapidly apply and release, or "pulse", the brakes on your car to keep your tires from skidding. Doing so allows them to spin so that you can steer off the potential collision path and over to safety at the side of the road.
To ensure ABS works in the situations where it is needed, it is vital to keep your tires well inflated, replace old and/or worn brake linings and have a technician check your brake fluid for air and dirt.
NOTE: If the ABS light is lit up on your dash, that does not mean it is activated. In fact, it means the opposite. If you see the icon (pictured below) appear on your dash, it means the antilock system has been deactivated due to a malfunction. Refer your car to a shop and have them check the braking system inspected. It is important to also mention that when ABS is deactivated, your brakes WILL STILL WORK. However, if you find yourself in an emergency braking situation without ABS, be sure to pump your brakes, as we mentioned above.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
All 2021 vehicles have ABS, as do many older models. Check your owner's manual if your vehicle is a pre-2012 model to determine whether your vehicle is equipped with ABS. If not, it might be time to consider a new car for your fleet. Contact Us Here for information on the 2021 vehicles we have available for leasing.
Brake assist is a relatively new and incredibly helpful safety feature that adds additional braking power to your car during emergency stops. This feature works in combination with ABS to help make braking as effective as possible while also avoiding wheel lockage.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2010 that, "...when making emergency stops, about half of all drivers do not press the brake fast enough or hard enough to make full use of their vehicle's braking power." This is not necessarily the fault of drivers, but just of our own inability to react as quickly as a machine in emergency situations.
If your car's brake assist notices you slamming on the pedal, it will apply maximum force to the breaks to help make sure your vehicle stops as quickly as possible, It does this by being programmed to identify "tell-tale signs of emergency braking."
Please note that Brake Assist will NOT automatically stop your car if you fail to brake.
Brake Assist may be referred to differently per manufacturer. Some other common names for this safety feature are Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Predictive Brake Assist (PBA). Ask your fleet manager or refer to your vehicle owner's manual to identify whether your car has this feature and what the manufacturer calls it. All 2022 vehicle makes and models will have brake assist (by any name) as a standard feature.
Image courtesy of Toyota Canada
Blind Spot Alert/Left Turn & Lane Change Assist
This innovative safety feature, known as Blind Spot Alert is a game-changer. Using a set of sensors located on your side mirrors and/or rear bumper, blind-spot monitoring works to detect vehicles in your blind spot and warns you of their presence and approach via flashing visual icons and audible alert tones. The alerts will activate not only when you are attempting to change lanes, but also when another vehicle is entering either one of your blind spots. Depending on the manufacturer, the blind spot alert system will even manipulate the steering and brakes to avoid a collision.
The cost of this technology has dropped significantly, as with many of the safety features we've already mentioned in this article. Because of the lower cost, this extremely helpful safety feature is available on all 2021 vehicles.
Blind spot monitoring systems are considered one of the most safety-enhancing features on today's new vehicles. To make sure you're getting the most from it, find the location of the indicator icon that will go off when someone is in your blind spot. The light will be a yellow or orange icon that flashes on the side mirror itself or else on the "A-pillar" next to your front windows.
Image courtesy of Gilbert & Baugh Ford
The flashing icon will always be accompanied by an alert tone that sounds in your vehicle. If the alert tone is too loud for your comfort, some systems allow for lowering the volume of the alert, although we recommend that you keep the volume on full, since it can be a very important reminder in times where it is needed.
At Caritas, driver safety is our #1 priority, and today's new cars have advanced technology that make them much safer than vehicles that were built five to ten years ago. To learn more, call Caritas at (414)-813-8036 and ask for Brad Forbush who is available to answer questions and provide further information.