Whether you are texting, daydreaming or surprised by suddenly stopped traffic, there is a good chance your next accident could be a rear-ender. Rear-end collisions accounted for a whopping 28 percent of all traffic accidents in 2012, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, and lane-change maneuvers were responsible for another 9 percent. Many experts believe that collision-avoidance systems that warn drivers or even brake the car could be a game-changer in preventing these types of accidents. Not only do results so far point to a sizable reduction in rear-end collisions, at least one insurance carrier is already offering a car insurance discount for vehicles so equipped.
Not all collision-avoidance systems avoid collisions
However, collision-avoidance systems can be confusing, as they can include a hodgepodge of components marketed under a variety of names. Some are sold as stand-alone options, while others are included in upgraded trim levels. Some issue a warning of impending doom; others actually brake or steer the car automatically. Adding to the confusion is the fact that testing has shown some collision-avoidance components to be much more effective than others. Is a collision-avoidance system a must-have on your next car? Here's a guide to various systems you'll encounter.
Front crash-prevention systems have proved to be one of the most effective collision-avoidance measures. Front crash-prevention systems alert a driver if the vehicle is gaining on traffic too quickly. While some systems warn the driver through an audible alert or a steering wheel vibration, others take control of the brakes and slow or stop the vehicle if the driver doesn't react quickly enough. While the system may not always avoid a collision, a serious reduction in speed will lessen the impact on the vehicle and its occupants. This could mean the difference between walking away from the accident and a month-long hospital stay.