Cars have made great strides in safety over the past 10 years. Automated braking is one of the newest trends in motor vehicle safety. However, if you purchase a car that uses automatic brakes, it does not mean you’ll always be protected by the technology.
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is nice to have. But you should always rely on your judgment to protect yourself and the passengers in your car.
Limitations of the technology
According to Consumer Reports, AEB is not always designed to work at speeds greater than 40 mph. Before purchasing a vehicle that touts AEB as a feature, make sure you understand the limitations.
Too many drivers consider new technology to be a replacement for common sense and good driving habits. Do not make that same mistake. Recent safety tests reveal some major flaws with the current state of automatic braking.
Testing reveals dangerous scenarios
AAA conducted a series of tests on rear-end crash performance with AEB-installed vehicles. They found that AEB does prevent collisions, but it is not foolproof. Driving at 30 mph resulted in a crash in 3 out of 20 tests. During those crashes, the AEB reduced impact speeds by 86 percent.
Once speeds reach 40 mph, AEB becomes much less reliable. Crashes occurred in 14 of the 20 tests, and impact speed decreased by 62 percent. They also found that AEB is ineffectual in preventing left-turn collisions and T-bones. Consumer Reports claims that crashes at intersections account for 40 percent of traffic fatalities. AEB systems do little or nothing to prevent these fatalities.
The future of vehicle safety is bright, and AEB is a good development. However, do not make the fatal mistake of relying on your automatic braking to keep you safe on the road.